Not too long ago, a popular measure passed the legislature: school boards could increase their portion of real-estate taxes only if the voters approved. (It's a little more complicated than that.)
In Franklin Township, the School Board was facing a shortfall after voters rejected a tax increase. Property tax caps had resulted in a nearly 20% decline in school funding. They had to save money somewhere -- and so they decided free bus service had to go.
This resulted in predictable outrage. One parent wondered, "If we're not going to provide even just the basics to try to get them to school then you know, where are we as a society?"--Read the linked article and you'll see one answer: parents are organizing car pools.
There will be school buses, mind you, they just won't be free; they'll cost $55 a month per student. That's a heck of a blow, but it does mean the cost is borne by (oh shock horror) the user.
...Or, you could try turning the School Board upside down and shaking really hard. That's exactly what State Senator Patricia Miller hopes to do. In her words, "It is important to note that the Franklin Township School Corporation has more than $17 million in its rainy day fund." I'm not seeing any mention of the reduction in tax money collected by the school board in her open letter, nor any of that dull, boring math that might show how much of the shortfall is made up by dropping free buses -- or what the School Board will do after they've depleted their rainy day fund and it happens to start rainin' on 'em.
--We had a fix for this, once: more and smaller schools, within walking distance of the neighborhoods they served. You have to wonder how a referendum on building neighborhood schools might've fared. You have to wonder -- because that idea was never floated. (For that matter, they used to build schools around here close to the streetcar lines and the city bus lines hat replaces them. It's still pay buses but more cost-effective.) In a completely unrelated news item, American kids continue to average chubbier than is good for 'em....
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