Some Children Left Behind

Add school bus service to that list of things that rural communities need to provide if they want to arrest population decline.

School buses may not reach rural stops

Fewer kids who live on rural roads will be able to take the school bus next year, but their parents can get mileage reimbursement for the hassle.

Trustees of Napa Valley Unified School District on Thursday canceled 10 bus routes to rural parts of Napa, a move that could save more than $275,000 a year. Four dozen students will feel the effects.

“It would be cheaper to hire a taxi cab to pick them up,” said Don Evans, director of general services and maintenance for NVUSD.

No one said they had to run full size buses on these routes. Students from far-flung areas of the district where I went to school were transported in minivans. While part of the problem seems to be a lack of imaginative answers, not nearly all of the blame belongs to the district.

The district — facing the third year of reduced state funding — has been looking for more ways to pinch pennies.

I’m not certain about the school funding system in California, but in many states school funding is tied to local sales and property taxes. This has created controversy in some states in recent years. Most recently a consortium of rural schools in Georgia has filed suit in that state. They are arguing that by shifting the burden of school funding to local taxes the state is failing to meet its requirements to students in rural areas.

The Napa Valley School District should consider the same. Leaving children waiting at the end of their driveway is unacceptable.

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