Our good friend and provocateur, Chuck Marohn, wants to pose a simple question: What are the objections to ending the mandate that all children get transportation to school?
In his latest post at the Strong Towns blog, Marohn makes a case for abolishing the mandate. He would still include a provision to bus those students who live on farms in remote areas to school. He also would provide a subsidy for children from lower-income families so they could afford bus transportation:
“It makes no sense that we continue to abandon neighborhood schools in favor of these remote campuses that require every child to be bused to. The only reason this continues to happen is that we’ve made transportation a sunk cost — it has to happen anyway — and so the cheapest way to do it is to make it large-scale. In the meantime, the transportation mandate is simply another perverse incentive for people to make lifestyle choices that ultimately have huge, financial costs to society.”
Marohn makes the case that the pressure on transportation costs will actually ramp up as gas prices climb to $4 a gallon.
It’s worth looking at the MN2020 report that shows how some districts must take from classroom needs to pay for busing while others do the opposite.
So what’s stopping us from ending the transportation mandate in schools? What would be the benefits or drawbacks to cutting this busing requirement?