Our school corporation consumes 66% off all property taxes in Floyd County.
A significant portion of those taxes go toward transportation. We've budgeted $1.3 million for bus replacement in 2008 alone, with an additional $1.3 million earmarked for future purchases. $1.3 million buys 15 buses. The school system operates 130 of them.
According to the NA/FC Consolidated School System web site, those buses travel about 1 million miles a year. With mileage at 10 miles per gallon and diesel fuel prices at $3.50 per gallon, that's $350,000 per year in fuel costs.
That doesn't include driver contracts or salaries, insurance, and maintenance. It also doesn't take into account the school system's penchant for closing schools in walkable neighborhoods and expanding them in far flung, sparsely populated areas, requiring more, not less, driving.
No one pays a direct fare to ride the buses. People who would pay fares are restricted from them, even though 17% of all households and 24% of rental households in six of New Albany's inner city census tracts have no vehicle access and we could all save money and fossil fuels with adequate public transportation.
I'll be the first to defend investment in public education as beneficial to the common good but, having purposely decided to live within walking distance of public schools, I'm confused as to how spending inordinate sums of money to set a bad example of unsustainable practice for our children as a part of their educational experience is beneficial or defensible.
Anyone care to educate me?