SALT LAKE CITY — State Sen. Chris Buttars (R-West Jordan) is proposing cutting funding for high school busing, as well as phasing out the 12th grade in Utah. The lawmaker was set to present both ideas to the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee this week, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
Buttars said cutting funding for high school busing outside rural areas could save the state about $60 million. Committee co-chair Sen. Howard Stephenson (R-Draper) said he expects the committee will seriously consider the idea.
The Salt Lake Tribune found that school bus usage among high school students varies widely by district. In districts contacted by the newspaper, the percentage of high schoolers who ride the bus ranged from about 16 percent to about 44 percent.
Many educators in the state say busing is necessary, citing the traffic congestion, pollution, parking problems and safety concerns that would come with elimination of high school busing. Plus, many students have no alternative means for getting to school, officials say, pointing out that many cities don't have sufficient public transportation to fill the gap.