DOVER, Del. — In their annual hearing before the General Assembly’s budget-drafting Joint Finance Committee last week, officials from the Department of Education elaborated on a plan to save state money on pupil transportation.
Gov. Jack Markell’s recommended fiscal year 2012 budget calls for districts to cover 10 percent of their bus route reimbursement costs. Currently, the state pays all of local districts' transportation costs.
Last year, the governor proposed a 75-25 transportation funding split, but lawmakers sided with school boards and administrators who said the plan would result in less funding for classroom teachers and school-based programs, Dover Post reports.
The new plan also contains a provision preventing school districts from asking voters to approve tax increases to help cover transportation costs. Karen Thorpe, a member of the Delaware Association of School Administrators, told the newspaper that the new plan transfers $7 million in costs to local districts without giving them the authority to raise local funds to support the cost transfer.
Last year's plan allowed districts to approve tax increases that would cover increased transportation costs.