Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

A Youth Sports Blog

Cutting the school budget by cutting bus rides to games

with 4 comments

The powers that be at Carrollton (Ill.) High School, sitting by themselves on the bus back from road games because the players are riding back with Mom and/or Dad, are wondering: why the hell are we paying to bus kids to their sporting events?

From the State Journal Register in Springfield (Ill.) :

“We’ll have a busload of kids going down to (Hardin) Calhoun for a basketball game on a snowy night,” said Phil Trapani, the principal at Carrollton High School. “Their parents get to the game later, and a lot of the kids go home with their parents.

“So when the bus gets back here, you might have the driver, the coach and a couple of players on it. That’s something you have to look at and say, ‘Are we wasting money here?’”

Carrollton is looking at alternatives that could reduce transportation costs for its athletic teams and other school activities. School Superintendent Beth Pressler said no final decisions have been made, but “people don’t realize the cost of transportation — fuel, maintenance and the driver’s salary.” …

Pressler said transportation costs for Carrollton’s extracurricular programs, of which athletics are a major part, could come to $28,000 by the end of the school year. It’s a figure, Pressler notes, that could cover the salary of one teacher.

Before I get into the subject at hand, $28,000 for a teacher? The median income for Carrollton is $30,000, for those of you who figured you could get rich teaching.

Anyway, with pretty much every school district in the nation cutting their budgets like crazy, $28,000 for not busing kids one-way to their sporting event sounds like easy money. Carollton hasn’t taken it yet, but nearby Carlinville is using the parentmobiles to get some athletes to and from their games, the State Journal Register reports. Anyway, kids on travel teams (most of them, anyway) have to hitch a ride with someone, so why should school athletes get a taxpayer-paid bus?

[youtubevid id=”oIbaISxK8QY”]

Hitchhiking is so jaunty! Just watch out for escaped prisoners.

Well, there are a few problems. One is access. Just like with pay-to-play fees, making students responsible for their own transportation potentially creates a barrier to entry. Presumably coaches might step up to provide rides, if for no other reason than to overcome one other problem a bus solves: making sure everyone shows up together, on time.

The bigger issue, I would presume, is liability. One set of Carlinville parents told the State Journal Register that they bought extra liability insurance, at their own expense, for trucking other kids around. Schools would need all coaches and parents transporting kids to do the same if they’re counting on them as transportation. Even so, you know that if a parent’s car gets in a wreck, the school district is getting sued, too. With the time, hassle and money involved, the school might be just as well to keep the one-way bus, and instead try other create means pointed out in the Springfield article, such as limiting how far you’ll travel, or scheduling so boys’ and girls’ teams can double up.

Written by rkcookjr

March 23, 2010 at 2:25 am

4 Responses

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  1. Given the recent events in Carmel, sounds like a great idea to me. I’ll bet I would know what was going on in the back seat of my SUV!! When I was in school, parents drove on field trips, stayed to chaperone and WE LIKED IT! We never took a bus. (Done in my best Dana Carvey “Grouchy Old Man” voice.)


    March 23, 2010 at 8:56 am

  2. I’ve chaperoned field trips on a bus, but never when we’ve had to all drive ourselves. That’s usually because the trip is in the middle of the school day, so the kids have to go back to class afterward.

    When I ran cross country and track in Carmel many moons ago, I seem to remember everyone taking the bus back and forth. Of course, I also don’t remember parents religiously following us all over, either. I mean, it’s your kid, but how exciting can watching cross country be?

    Bob Cook

    March 23, 2010 at 12:25 pm

  3. I think I’m probably about 10 years older than you and I grew up in a town of 1,000 people so our drivers, in elementary school, were the moms who stayed at home. (My mom drove to EVERYTHING and would have gone to fly swatting competitions to cheer us on … but she was in her own league.)

    In high school, there were buses.

    Here’s a picture of my school from grades 1-8. Built in the early 1900s.

    (We consolidated and became a part of North Montgomery High School in 1972.)


    March 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm

  4. If it’s between cutting the arts programs and cutting the athletic programs, the athletics have to go. The arts are usually next in line- or worse, first! – to be cut.


    March 24, 2010 at 8:58 am

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