School transportation costs more than doubled between the 2000-01 fiscal year to the 2009-10 fiscal year, according to a report released this week by the fiscally conservative Citizens Budget Commission. The average cost per student was $1,100 that year, more than any other state spends and 140 percent higher than the $459 national average.
Statewide, the state spends $2.97 billion for transportation, of which $1.6 billion — 56 percent — is state funded. The rest is paid for by local school districts, the report found. The Citizens Budget Commission said the state has poorly designed formulas to determine transportation aid, which contributes to high total spending and per pupil costs “by aiding wealthy districts too generously and by failing to provide incentives for many districts to contain costs.”
The New York City group also released an interactive map that allows users to view transportation spending by school district.
New York’s transportation spending is not in line with other states, the CBC said in the report. The organization recommends simplifying the funding formula for school transportation, reducing the overall reimbursement rate, and eliminating the minimum reimbursement for the wealthiest districts. One formula should be applied to all school districts.
“A more rational approach to pupil transportation aid is needed,” Carol Kellermann, president of the Citizens Budget Commission, said in a statement. “The formulas should be simpler and fairer and should give school districts a greater stake in achieving cost savings.”
REPORT SchoolTransport 12122012