Saving Money on Student Transportation

By Naomi Dillon

Few images are more iconic to public education than the yellow school bus. And, aside from actual instruction, few services are as essential to education as transportation.

Technology has expanded learning opportunities beyond the classroom, but the vast majority of districts still operate school sites and the vast majority of children must still find a way to get there.

However, transportation -- like athletic, music, and art programs -- has suffered in this economy, forcing schools to trim, consolidate, privatize, charge fees, and in some cases, eliminate the service entirely.

“What we’re seeing from a state level is that [transportation] budget situations are so tight, districts are willing to look at any option,” says Mike Griffith, an education finance analyst with the Education Commission of the States.

And having depleted their reserves, spent federal stimulus money, and in many instances been burdened with a state deficit, districts across the country face few good options and increasing challenges. 

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