Word out of Washington, D.C., today is that Congress is close to saving some 140,000 teacher positions with $10 billion in education job funding tied to Senate Amendment 4575. With about four out of 10 schools forecasting additional job cuts during the 2010-2011 school year, and especially to support services, transportation could soon be thrown a much needed life preserver.
The American Association of School Administrators released a statement that the Senate's decision for a cloture vote, that meaning to bring a swift end to any debate, signals that "educational success and economic well-being go hand in hand," said Ed Hatrick, AASA's new president and the superintendent at Loudon (Va.) County Public Schools.
This is potentially encouraging to transportation operations after an AASA survey this past spring found that 38 percent of the 453 superintendent responding said their transportation departments would be implementing route cuts this coming school year. And that, of course, could also impact a lot of jobs, especially as those supers hailed from 45 different states. Consider that those expected routes cuts have increased by 20 percent from the 2009-2010 school year and up 10 percent from 2008-2009.
The Senate Amendment also contains a provision that would close international tax loopholes that currently allow multinational corporations to inappropriately lower their U.S. taxes, which could have an adverse effect on state and local revenue that goes toward funding schools — and transportation operations.
The next stop is a Senate floor vote and, if it passes by a simple majority, on to the House, where there have already been two passages of similar job bills. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already said that she will call representatives back from recess to cast their new votes.
It's interesting to note that a main architect of the amendment is Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the same Sen. Murray who has drawn the ire of private school bus companies after she tried to insert language into the transportation reauthorization bill that would allow King County Metro in Seattle to bypass the charter rule enforced by FTA to eliminate unfair competition by transit agencies that operate with federal funding.
Late last month, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a draft bill providing a total of $76.95 billion in budgetary resources for the U.S. Department of Transportation for fiscal year 2011, according to an legislative update this week from NSTA. Sen. Murray inserted a charter rule exemption that was identical to her previous attempt, just in case the Department of Justice wins an appeal on the current court case. The district court opinion in June ruled the provision unconstitutional and was appealed. The DC Circuit Court is scheduled to hear the case late next month, NSTA advised its members.