High Costs for Busing Students to Charter Schools, Analysis Finds

Associate Editor

Cross-posted from the Charters & Choice blog

By Katie Ash

An investigation by the Akron Beacon Journal in Ohio found that across the state, the cost of transporting charter school students to class was, on average, about 44 percent higher than transportation for students attending regular schools.

In part, the extra cost comes from having to bus charter school students longer distances, sometimes with fewer students on the route, the journalists found. Around the state, school buses traveled an extra 15,600 miles every day in 2012 to accommodate charter school students, which adds up to about an additional $85,000 every day. That extra cost is largely footed by the urban districts in which most charters operate, said the report.

To make matters worse, state funding for school transportation costs, which in the past varied from between $9 and $33 million annually, was zeroed out in 2010. In addition, the price of fuel has skyrocketed in the past decade, further increasing the cost of transportation. 

The investigation is the last in the three-part series examining school choice in Ohio, with a specific focus on Akron. The first article detailed the difficulties of receiving basic information about charter schools—such as names of school board members, which management company is in charge of the school, and who runs the school’s building.

The second article revealed that board members of charter schools managed by the for-profit charter school company White Hat, based in Akron, Ohio, had little control over or knowledge of the vast majority of the school’s budget. 

To read more about trends in busing, see this post from our District Dossier blog.

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