It's teacher hunting season!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bloomberg School Choice Policies Created Bus Budget Crisis; Environmental Issues Lurk

Among the major issues progressive school workers, parents and community members should face is the reality that eliminating the neighborhood school is behind this school bus budget crisis.

The fraud of failed schools and the "need" for school choice is behind this dilemma. Each day, thousands of children are needlessly sent out of their neighborhood in a con game that carries the premise that schools are notably better a few miles away.

Socially, this carries a cost. Students are pulled from schools; the New York City Department of Education cries underutilization or school failure because some plumb students are gone, and schools close. The community-school identification wears down.

Add a few hundred charter schools and you've magnified the problem.

Meanwhile, students are bused, and the unnecessary busing worsens the pollution situation, adds students to the already burdened bus and subway lines.
Just take a look at this "New York Times" graph, in "At Root of Strike, Runaway Costs in City’s School Busing System," scheduled to run on the front page of Thursday's edition. Today, there are about 7,000 bus routes. When Bloomberg entered office in 2002 the city had 5,000 school bus routes. Twenty years ago, the bus routes stood at around 3,400. Note that costs move roughly commensurate with the growth in school bus routes.

If Bloomberg had not pursued this ideological, unproductive shell game policy, we would not have been in this situation.

Another factor is Bloomberg's particular bus route choices. As Juan Gonzalez reported in the New York Daily News, the bus routes themselves are expensive, and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has not been forthcoming about the full story as to why the routes are expensive, according to bu union president Mike Cordiello.
Even more amazing is the mayor’s silence at the causes of skyrocketing bus costs that have nothing to do with the workers.

The biggest is special education. While only about a third of the 150,000 students bused daily are in special education, their transportation represents three-quarters of the total cost of the program — more than $770 million. That's an average of $12,000 annually per child, according the city's Independent Budget Office.

Many of those children ride long distances to private schools outside the city.

Bus union president Mike Cordiello says many routes are so ineptly configured by Tweed bureaucrats that his members run 186 routes daily to Westchester County, most of them with 6 children or less per bus. There are 25 buses per day to New Jersey, 16 to Rockland County, several to Connecticut.
Read more at the full January 17 Daily News story.

The New York Times' Schoolbook claims that mob ties are a major factor in keeping school bus costs high. If this is so, why doesn't New York City tackle that issue instead of harangue school bus drivers and their union? Where is the 1980s era Rudy Giuliani, the prosecutor of mobsters?

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