Skipping the school bus to save money

Filed under: Big Kids, Tweens, Teens, Work Life, Going Green, Day Care & Education

Riding the school bus to school has traditionally free -- except there really is no such thing as a free lunch. The funds to pay for the school bus itself, fuel, and insurance have to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is from the school's budget which is funded by taxes. So it's not really free. With diesel fuel costing more than four dollars a gallon on average, it's not even close to free these days.

So, the venerable school bus may soon become a thing of the past. According to the American Association of School Administrators, more than a third of school administrators have cut back on or eliminated school bus service in order to save money. The Capistrano Unified School District in California cut two-thirds of their bus routes, putting between four and five thousand students back on the sidewalks to walk to school.

Walking to school is probably the best option all around, healthwise, environmentally, and fiscally, but that's not always going to be the choice that is -- or is able to be -- made. It's more expensive to have a whole lot of individual cars driving kids to school than a single bus -- Mike Martin of the National Association for Pupil Transportation notes that "on average, one schoolbus replaces 36 private vehicles."

For us, we have no choice but to drive my son to school -- the school is halfway across town, the nearest bus stop is nearly as far in the opposite direction, and public transit is simply not an option for a first grader in the big city.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.