Schools respond to plan to cut transportation budgets to fund Gannon equity

The current House Appropriations bill that seeks to provide the equity required by the Gannon decision proposes cutting $14 million in transportation aid.
“[That proposal] is based on a 2006 Legislative Post Audit study that found school¬†bus costs were overstated because of a flawed reimbursement formula.
‘The transportation formula systematically overestimates the cost of transporting students who live more than 2.5 miles from school,’ Legislative Post Audit wrote this week in a summary of that study. . .
But Seaman USD 345 communications director Jeff Zehnder questioned the proposed cut, saying the transportation study was just one section in a much larger report that concluded K-12 funding was, overall, severely underfunded.
He said it was surprising to see the House cite the 2006 study in this manner, since lawmakers seemed to reject most of its other conclusions.
‘Legislators have said for years that their own studies were wrong when results showed schools received less than it takes to educate a child,’ Zehnder said. ‘How can it now be that an exhaustive study calling for an overall increase in funding for kids is still wrong, but the one line item in that study calling for a small cut is correct?’
The 2006 study concluded that basic funding per student and for special needs categories, such as special education and at-risk aid, was underfunded by between $300 million and $400 million in 2006 when base state aid was $4,257 per student. It is now $3,838 per student.
‘Where are those items in this conversation?’ said Zehnder, whose district stands to lose around $140,000 in transportation dollars.¬†

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