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.