Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A New School Year!

So here's what happened in Indiana.

Once upon a time, there were at the very least, elementary schools, most through eighth grade, within walking distance of most homes. But this is not good enough. We need bigger, brighter, air conditioned school-places. These were built. The little within-walking-distance schools were closed. School buses were purchased, routes were established. The kids now went to school with other kids whom they would never have known in the bad old days of the walk-to schools.

The consolidated schools built bigger and better schools, farther and farther away from the homes of the kiddies. More buses were purchased, routes were established such that some six-year old kids would now get to go to school thirteen miles from home, and they would get a wonderful hour-long bus ride. Twice a day. Board the bus before daylight in the dead of winter, and get home after dark. But they had a light, bright, warm and super-crowded environment during the day!

Then one day, the school systems discovered that they, like the federal government, had extended themselves well beyond their budgetary limitations. Unlike the federal government, they cannot go to China and borrow a pocketful of change. Gas prices escalated. Electricity costs rose. Staff salaries went up. Buses grew larger and more costly. And now we cannot afford to run the buses.

But there is a solution. We can charge the parents of the kiddies for those seemingly interminable daily bus rides! A recent news report states that a neighboring school district has settled on a figure of $475 for the first kid, $405 for each additional kid from the same home. I don't know about you, but I had four kids, all in school at the same time. That would work out to what? Here I'll do the math for you: $1690 a year for my kids to get to the "free" public school.

I'm not even going to editorialize here.


Anonymous said...

I went (walked) to a non-air-conditioned elementary school and survived. It was K-8 at first, but then somebody decided that "middle school" was a good idea and suddenly I was being bused to the south end of town for it. Middle school was, in reality, awful. Progress.

But at least they didn't charge my parents for the busing.

Secondary Roads said...

It was K through 12 all in the same building for me.

I see a pattern here. And it's not a good one. :(

Vee said...

No doubt the school districts charging for bussing will keep all of the sports prgrams afloat. Sports would be much more important than getting the kids to classes!

Pearl said...

I am SO glad I have no children in school.

We are a ridiculous people.


Rebecca Mecomber said...

Just another reason why I homeschool.

Lousy thing is, I pay twice for the education-- once for my own kids with all our expenses, and again for everyone else's kids. An evil, partial and un-American system, IMHO.

vanilla said...

Jim, I taught nine years in buildings with no a/c; and of course when I was a student, it was unheard of.

Chuck, studying these patterns tends to induce shudders in fair-minded and thinking people.

Vee, have you ever been in a community where the school board attempted to cut a sports program for fiduciary reasons?
Have you ever heard of one?

Pearl, ridiculous, yes. But it is the ridiculosity that makes for great blog fodder!

Rebecca, no. You pay for your children's education in your home setting, your right, your choice, which I support, and you pay to educate the urchins in your neighborhood who would go without were it not for people like us who support the public system. Public education is a noble endeavor, allowing an opportunity for all to be enlightened, not just those who can obtain their schooling at home from capable parents. That the system is "broken" in some places is a tragedy, but fixes and remedies won't be effected here. At least you won't have to pay the "bus fare."

John Cowart said...

Perhaps you should run for the local school board?

vanilla said...

John, strange as you may find this to believe, that has been proposed to me by serious-minded local residents. My days of such endeavor is past, but I am flattered by the suggestion.