State cuts threaten school bus service 91% of students would be affected

November 08, 1992|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

No matter what the wording, the news from the state about school funding will be bad, says R. Edward Shilling, superintendent of Carroll County schools.

The latest talk is of eliminating state money for school transportation, which would result in a loss of about $3.2 million for Carroll schools, Mr. Shilling has told the school board.

More than 91 percent of Carroll students ride buses, and the county spends $8 million a year to provide that service.

Slashing transportation is the third course of action proposed since September, when the governor unveiled his plan to cut $150 million from county aid and let regional officials apportion the losses among their departments.

"I'm not sure it matters what they call it," Mr. Shilling said.

"Whatever it is, we're going to have to share that reduction."

An earlier attempt by some legislators to reduce state Social Security payments for teachers has not gained support in the legislature, Mr. Shilling said.

That reduction would have cost Carroll about $3.8 million, and $147 million statewide.

The first proposal, to let counties decide where to take the losses, probably would have resulted in a $2.5 million to $3 million reduction for Carroll schools out of a $5 million cut to the county.

The schools account for about half of the county budget.

PD Educators say the cuts to Social Security and transportation are

more disappointing, however, because they represent a permanent shift in responsibility for education funding from the state to the counties.

Proponents say these are expenses that regional officials control and thus should be accountable for.

Some children who live across the road from a school take buses if that road is a state highway, such as at Westminster High School and Robert Moton Elementary School.

In other cases, there are no sidewalks for children to use to walk from home to school.

The Carroll County Board of Education and the county commissioners have strongly supported the current level of transportation.

The commissioners agreed in April to compensate for a $2 million reduction from the state to school transportation for the 1992-1993 year.

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