California School Bus Funds: Districts Decry $248 Million Loss

Friday, December 16, 2011

School districts throughout California are scrambling to cover the elimination of $248 million in funding for school buses starting next month, with the state's largest district filing a lawsuit to block the cuts and others saying they'll have to use reserves in order to keep transportation service.

"It's an incredibly unfair way to go about this," said Marc Johnson, superintendent of Sanger Unified School District, which covers 185-square miles in the Central Valley and where some two-thirds of students take buses to school.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday announced the elimination in bus funding as part of a package of so-called trigger cuts in state programs that will go into effect in January due to a shortfall in state revenue for the current fiscal year.

School districts will also see another $79.6 million lopped in general funding.

John Deasy, superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District, called the loss of $38 million in bus funds to his district "catastrophic," saying it would affect 48,000 students, including 13,000 special needs students. The school board immediately voted to file for a temporary restraining order to block the cut.

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