The rest of the DPS busing outsourcing story

In today’s Dayton Daily News the story about DPS possibly outsourcing the busing of charter and private school students was missing one major piece of information: The bus drivers union voted resoundingly 2 weeks ago to reject the latest contract.

What we have is an attempt at hardball union negotiating by DPS:

Dayton Public Schools is looking at possibly outsourcing the busing of charter and private school students as a way to trim the district’s $16 million transportation budget.

By law, Dayton Public is required to transport charter and private school students from kindergarten through eighth grade who live in the district.

Treasurer Stan Lucas said officials want to see if it might be financially feasible, and the Dayton Board of Education has approved seeking proposals from outside companies.

“We need to be more fiscally responsible because we don’t know what’s coming down the pike from the state,” board President Nancy Nerny said. “Rather than choosing classroom kinds of projects to tighten our belt, we’re choosing operations.”

The district buses 14,125 kids daily, with 4,935 being charter and private school students.

via Dayton schools weigh using private buses.

What we really need to look at is two things:

  • Why is DPS required to bus charter and private school students in the first place? It’s time to tell the charter school lobbyists to make their schools accountable for their own diesel fuel costs.
  • With a move to neighborhood schools- DPS busing needs will be considerably less next year- but we still need to stop providing door-to-door service. It’s time to have neighborhood collection points for students- up to 7/10 of a mile for k-3 and 1 mile for 4-8. This would greatly reduce bus travel through neighborhoods- force kids in a neighborhood to know each other (even if going to different schools) and simplify bus operations.

I would have posted this article this morning- but my kids showed back up at the door- when their bus was 20 minutes late, and I had to take my 2 plus 3 others to Horace Mann before work.

There are ways to cut costs- but union busting isn’t the easiest road to take.

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6 Responses

  1. djw February 9, 2011 / 8:25 am
    The first question is a damn good one. Is that a city ordinance, I wonder, or a state law?
  2. truddick February 9, 2011 / 9:13 am
    djw: as I understand it, it’s a state law.
    In the big picture, we need to be clear about the educational outcomes.  There is no educational reason to bus elementary school students to other neighborhoods; the K-6 curriculum and teaching methods should not vary because pre-adolescent children (with few exceptions, the special-ed kids and the geniuses) all need to learn the same subjects and all are at around the same level of capacity to learn.  We should be busing high school students to magnet schools like Stivers, ISUS or DECA where their increasingly different needs and capacities can be addressed.  (Yes, I know that 2 of those are charter schools.)
  3. somedude February 9, 2011 / 1:49 pm
    Yes, the Republicans created busing x 2.

    To outsource it would just be to add another layer to the existing layers.

  4. somedude February 10, 2011 / 9:53 am
    Lots of thumbs down, but can anyone actually point to where I am wrong? The truth just must really suck for some people. I find it liberating.

    You have two school systems in Dayton, that allow any child at any address across the city to choose whatever school they want to go to regardless of geographic location. And because of this, DPS operates a 200+bus fleet that operates like a taxi service, not a school bus fleet.

    So essentially, there is a huge, leviathan transportation system that has had to be created because of Democrats (the legacy of forced busing – although that is slowly going out the door), and the Republicans (who doubled the mess with Charter Schools so their friends can get the education money while operating mostly very mediocre schools).

    Any of you geniuses want to factually refute this, or does hitting thumbs down just make you feel better?

  5. Steve Brack February 10, 2011 / 7:34 pm
    A plan that has worked in other communities is the so-called “walking school bus.” A school district employee walks students from “bus stop” to “bus stop,” picking up additional students along the way. It provides similar student safety to the traditional school bus while reducing transportation costs and providing the students with positive exercise and socialization experiences as they walk to school.
     
    As far as DPS’s busing dilemma, why can’t transportation costs be fully attributed to the schools causing the costs to be incurred?  DPS’s individual schools should cover their students’ transportation costs, and private schools should do likewise.  If DPS is really that inefficient and costly, then any school could bid the job to a private contractor. However, I suspect that DPS can do the job more cost-effectively than any company that would need to reinvent the wheel.
  6. somedude February 10, 2011 / 9:01 pm
    The dilemma is: You now have two school systems in Dayton created legislatively, that allow any child at any address across the city to choose whatever school they want to go to regardless of geographic location. And all of the responsibility and cost lies at the feet of Dayton Public Schools. They actually do an admirable job considering the near impossible job they are tasked with.

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