Slashing school transportation spending could hurt instruction, school officials say

Feb 17, 2011

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Luke Runyon used in this report.

School officials say Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's decision to slash school transportation spending could hurt instruction, even though he wants to increase the amount the state spends per pupil.

The budget Quinn unveiled in Springfield yesterday cuts $95 million from the state school busing fund.

Kathy Garrett, the superintendent of a rural district outside Springfield, says 75 percent of the students in her district take the bus.

She says districts will have the find the funds to replace transportation money.

"We would have to look at potentially a property tax increase or we would have to make transfers probably from our education fund," Garrett says.

Garrett says that could result in teacher layoffs or less  money for textbooks and classroom materials.  She says reducing bus service will cause truancy to rise.