Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Encouraging Magnet Schools = Busing in CCSD

No one in his or her right mind would trust the numbers game being played by the Charleston County School District in regard to its next budget shortfall. However, one phenomenon is clear: closing schools and reorganizing "partial" magnets produce more busing.

Somehow these costs never seem to figure into the "savings" asserted by these proposals.

We've come to a sorry state when the lowest-paid employees of the district are forced into unpaid furloughs, but even so the powers-that-be at 75 Calhoun have no difficulty living with themselves. Their next step is supposed scrutiny of the millions spent on busing within the district. (Perhaps this step is as disingenuous as the "let's-sell-75-Calhoun ploy; perhaps not.)

According to news emanating from the latest CCSD Board of Trustees meeting, "$276,472 to provide transportation for students who attend the six new partial magnet schools" will be added to the millions for busing next year. [See Board Approves Another Furlough.]

Let's get this straight: low-paid employees will pay for students' transportation to the partial magnets next year: "The furloughs will save a projected $191,942"; why, that leaves $85 thousand in chump change for the Superintendent to pay outside consultants! What could be fairer? So fair, in fact, that the Board saw no need to discuss the merits of the additional furloughs.

Back to busing. According to CCSD (and who trusts them to be accurate about this?), busing to the district's magnet schools costs "about $2.49 million annually." The proposal suggesting that magnet-school parents contribute to the costs opens up a whole new can of worms. Who would trust CCSD to decide which parents could afford to pay and how much they could afford? For sure, if all parents are required to pay busing costs, these magnets will become even more so the bailiwick of the wealthy.

Parents didn't create this problem; CCSD did as it was drawn down that magnet road years ago by--could it be?--present Board member Gregg Meyers. Ask him how to pay for the busing.


Anonymous said...

Will someone please contact a state or federal agency with the backbone and teeth to make CCSD comply with ordinary common sense. I gave up on them complying with the letter of the law a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

Since when did magnet schools become something separate from the public schools of Charleston County? And why is it that only this segment is being zeroed in on to have our bussing removed????

Not all parents of magnet school kids are wealthy. Many are like myself--working people who want more for their children and need the assistance provided under the public school system to do it. Its a shame when you have more opportunity and more voices speaking for you for being an uneducated, welfare recipient than someone who makes an effort to get out of bed and go to work every day. Someone will make sure their kids get an education. And the wealthy will hire someone for it. What about the rest of us?