Governor proposes cuts to school busing

Today’s Chronicle has a story about an additional series of cuts to close the state’s $24.3 billion deficit between now and June 2010. Here’s one nugget about how the cuts might affect SFUSD:

The elimination of state funds for school buses would mean a loss of $3.2 million for San Francisco Unified School District, jeopardizing school transportation for 7,000 students who rely on busing, said Myong Leigh, deputy superintendent for operations.

“We would have to take a real hard look at the pain of cutting transportation versus cutting money in other places instead,” he said.

We’ve been mostly shielded from making these kinds of painful decisions due to help from the City’s Rainy Day Fund. I think we’d better brace ourselves, however, because the really tough decisions are down the road.

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8 responses to “Governor proposes cuts to school busing

  1. Don Krause

    I’m with Katy, but I appreciate your no vote for whatever reason. I think the pertinent question to ask is – Why should we spend this kind of money now for this purpose whether or not NUA is the right contractor?

    First and foremost, this is about public officials realizing that we need to make tough choices and tighten our belts. A contract like this at this time shows that our elected representatives on the Board and those in the administration that pushed for this have an agenda that is out of sync with the economy. It i s irresponsible to make severe cuts to services that affect children, then vote to spend millions.

    We need to focus on the basic services for our children and stop enriching consultants at student expense. I don’t particularly like NUA, but this decision is not about one group or another.

    Having said that, if they as altruistic as they claim, they should not be profiteering off public education. (Idealism is killing me) Why is it that Ed Board members here and across the nation who claim to be ardent public education supporters are so willing to provide this kind of largess to private companies? PD consulting is a giant business that is driven by strong lobbies that understand how to work the system.

    We just don’t need NUA. We need more staff and smaller class sizes, even if the funding that paid for this cannot go to make those kind of real value investments for children.

  2. Don Krause

    Those 3 Million figure was from a member of the assignment committee, but I believe it was a projected amount that could be cut in total per year with a quadrant type assignment system in place and with busing only within the quadrant. My concern is that Myong Leigh could be transferring the onus of these cuts to the State for PR purposes when the District may have been considering making cuts of these kind anyway. Either way, whether the District does it to save money or the CDE, using education dollars for transportation, while sometimes necessary for certain types of students, should be considered, in my opinion, a poor use of education dollars.

  3. I don’t think squander is too strong a word.

    With this sort of nebulous professional development, it is almost impossible to know whether or not what they are doing for 3500 a day makes a difference. Test scores could go up 3% simply by chance. You could send Al Franken into each classroom for a “good enough smart enough” pep talk and have the scores go up that much.
    I listened to sr. dad’s podcast with the NUA guy and he sounds like a snake-oil salesman on crystal meth. The whole thing smells entirely fishy. Why do the president and CEO of this supposed “non-profit” get 436,000 a year in salary? (as per last year’s 990 tax form ).
    SFUSD’s budget projections are GRIM.
    It is time to stop paying these odd consultants obscenely huge amounts of money. If SFUSD is raising class sizes and firing teachers to save money, then it has NO BUSINESS spending that kind of money on this “I am gonna grease your palm” and “give the money to my this guy I know” crap.

  4. Now, squander is WAY too strong a word.

  5. I’m not sure where you got that understanding. We’ve pledged to cut $1 million out of transportation for 2009-10 by cutting routes, and the Board discussed options for those cuts back in December and January. We haven’t voted on them yet, however.
    I’m assuming that the $1 million in previously pledged cuts have been worked into next year’s budget (which hasn’t been presented to us yet but will be on June 16 at the next Budget Committee meeting). But the cuts the Governor announced on Friday almost certainly have not been incorporated into our budget expectations, judging from Mr. Leigh’s quote in the Chronicle.

  6. Don Krause

    It is my understanding that the District wanted to cancel much of the longer busing to save over $3 million by shortening routes and having students closer to their own neighborhoods. No one would be bussed outside their own quadrant, with some possible exceptions. So the real issue here is that the District will not have the savings to apply elsewhere, is it not?

  7. Oops, too late, the Board of Education
    already voted to squander that money.
    At least you voted against it, Rachel, thanks for taking your job seriously, and understanding that this is REAL money.

  8. 3.2 million?

    Here’s a thought, don’t hire high-priced trendy consultants for 3 million dollars when teachers are being laid off and the budget is likely to be cut so much.