Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On buses, budgets, and quality schools

I had the opportunity to be at Novi Meadows - our 5th/6th grade building - as school ended today. Over 1000 students spilled from the building to board twenty buses for their ride home.  Here's what it looked like:
As I stood there and watched I wondered what the scene would look like if our district did not provide transportation to these students. Every 5th and 6th grade student in our district is bused to this building. Some of our students live over four miles from the building. Would parents be here to pick up their children? What would this parking lot look like with cars instead of buses waiting for students? Would our parking lot be big enough for all of the cars that would be trying to fit into the parking lot?

Schools spend money. Every dollar we spend is spent to build or maintain a quality school system for our students. Our goal is to ensure that every student, every day has a quality educational experience. In our district over 2.3 million dollars is spent on transportation.

As the state budget process grinds along districts are having to analyze every dollar that is spent. Some would argue that schools should not spend anything outside of the classroom.

I disagree. This picture reminds me that services like transportation are important and help to create a safe environment for our students. Opportunities in athletics, theater, band, choir, newspaper, radio, and TV production are also important. Quality educational programs in the core subjects are clearly important. Every one of those programs costs money.

I know that we need to be as efficient as possible. But I also believe that we cannot cut our way to a good school district. Our responsibility is to create excellent educational opportunities and manage our budget wisely.

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