The Center on Budget Policy and Priorities announced today that, despite funds tied to last year's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, 28 states and the District of Columbia have been forced to enact K-12 education cuts. And all too often transportation services can also find themselves under the knife.
President Obama's State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress and to the American people centered on the struggling economy and the national unemployement rate of at least 10 percent. In as much, he vowed to spend an additional $4 billion this year on education. And a lot of states need a lot of money.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has proposed cutting state funding for K-12 schools by more than 9 percent. Meanwhile, next door, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered a $248 million in cuts to the state budget, which prompted State Superintendent Paul Pastorek to seek slicing $16 million from the education budget. This could lead to school districts having to pay more to transport private school students, according to The Advocate News in Baton Rouge. California, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts and Michigan are a few more of the states that are navigating dire straits.
And, despite 30 state raising local taxes since the recession began in 2007 in an effort to balance the budgets, the CBPP says things are forecasted to get worse.
This all has ramifications on school transportation as many school districts and even some states like Maryland are looking at extending the life of school buses because schools are so cash-strapped they are unable to buy new vehicles. And there are the job eliminations, which often target support staff like "expendable" transportation service. And what about the effect on contracts?
It will be interest, to say the least, to see what happens.
What do you think about the President's pledge to funnel more federal funds to education, even as he promised last night to suspend all other discretionary spending? Could this benefit school transportation?