Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Food for Thought on the Pay to Ride bus situation in KISD

Hello, My name is Gene Hayward. Full Disclosure: I teach Advanced Placement Economics at Central HS AND I do not live in the district, so take what I say with as many grains of salt as you like :) ...I would like to inject a thought into the Pay to Ride System, which in principle I support, but I do have a major concern that I do not think has been thought through. This should not be an area for conflict because it WILL have to be addressed in some fashion by everyone here…Here goes…According to the latest Texas Education Agency AEIS reporting system at http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/cgi/sas/broker , in 2009-2010 school year KISD had 5,830 students classified at “Economically Disadvantaged”. Most of you probably did not know it was that high!! I was surprised myself. The Federal Govt. has used their criteria to determine this and school MUST allow students with this designation all the benefits of this designation. The district, to my knowledge, cannot means test any further to determine benefits (someone correct me it I am wrong). PLEASE keep that last point in mind, regardless of how you may personally feel about it. Those of us in the schools know that even though there may be a stigma attached to this label parents DO take advantage of the benefits accorded them. The pay for ride system will be no different. Let’s assume that only half take advantage of any help to pay for busing. This means 2,915 students will need roughly $300 per year (amount not set in stone yet—you are welcome to insert your own figure) for the bus. 2,915 X $300 = $874,500!! Can the community raise that amount? Can Durham subsidize that amount? Some combination thereof? Now, you can play with the 2,915 number—is it lower? Higher? I don’t know. BUT if we are approaching this as a business decision, would it not be appropriate to have some idea of the potential money needed and a plan to pay for this? I honestly don’t see where this amount is going to come from.

Now, I will point out a potential flaw in my own scenario---I will counter myself by assuming bus service is not a “right” as defined by education law, State or Federal. Someone can correct me on that. If it is not, then an administrative process has to be set up to means test potentially a couple of thousand of applications for financial assistance. Who is going to do this and how much would THAT cost?

What do y’all think? I respectively submit this for constructive criticism…Thank you!
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