Monday, April 20, 2009

"Roanoke Schools Embrace Privatization to Cut Costs, Focus on Education"

Tough economic times do encourage governments to think outside the box, and often that means taxpayers save.

States and municipalities are not alone in facing tremendous fiscal pressures these days. School districts nationwide are being forced to cut costs to respond to the challenges of budget shortfalls and declining tax revenues.

In this context the Roanoke school board’s recent decision to contract out school transportation services is a notable development that other Virginia school districts should watch closely, as it offers a timely reminder that privatization can be a powerful tool to help “right-size” school districts and keep them focused on their core mission of educating children.

Last week, the Roanoke city school board voted to contract with a Pennsylvania-based bus company to provide transportation services; the board estimates this will save the school district approximately $250,000 annually. In addition, the company will purchase the district’s fleet of roughly 150 buses and will acquire 15 new buses every year to replace the aging stock over time. The district’s current drivers who meet minimum standards will be offered positions with the company.

Read on from Bacon's Rebellion....

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