Jun 192008

The Wall Street Journal reports on what fuel prices are doing to school transportation budgets. The yellow buses are taking money that would normally be spent on teachers, roofs, and “enrichment” programs.

Not a word is breathed about the possibility that it’s time to reverse the consolidation mania that has created these abominations. For example, the Gull Lake Community School District here in Michigan covers 100 square miles, but is not very compact in form. It has a long east-west axis and a not-so-long north-south one. There are about 2900 students. The elementary school that my youngest son attended, on the east end of the district, a blue-collar area, was recently shut down. The kids are now all transported to the more yuppity end of the district.

One improvement which would not only save transportation money but also improve educational quality would be to split the district into two. Re-open the elementary school, and perhaps even build a new, smaller high school on the east end of the district. The west end could pay reparations to help make it possible. There would then be closer ties between parents, taxpayers and schools, and kids would not so easily got lost in the cracks. And kids wouldn’t have to waste so much of their lives on those gas-guzzling, yellow monsters.