Here’s a question: How much did busing the new charter school students actually cost the district this year?
Evidently, not nearly as much as restructuring the central office, which cost the district around a half a million dollars.
If you weren’t paying close attention, you might not have noticed the board was up to its old tricks: Misdirecting the public by focusing on the cost of three buses, all the while quietly spending half a million on central office administrators.
Monday night’s board Finance Committee meeting opened with a discussion of busing routes added due to the expansion of charter school seats.
According to the district’s Chief Financial Officer Marlene Segel, the district added three buses to accommodate the increase in charter school students this year. At about $60,000 a bus, that’s $180,000, which is less than two percent of the total $17 million dollar transportation budget (a budget expense which is, at least in part, is reimbursed by the state).
It was pretty clear from the onset that charter school busing costs were brought up for purely political reasons. Think about it this way: Bus routes were added this year at Fairchild Wheeler and the Bridgeport Military Academy due to increased enrollment at those schools, too, but of course, those numbers weren’t available.
While the expense to bus charter school students was highlighted, another larger expense was nearly dismissed.
It took board members Andre Baker and Rev. Kenneth Moales questioning central office expenses for it to come out that there was a $500,000 increase this year due to restructuring.
While some of the $500,000 was spent on a restructuring of special education and collective bargaining increases, some of it was used to hire more central administrators.
How does a school district that claims it’s so strapped for cash it can’t afford to bus its students afford half a million dollars for new central administrative staff?
Keep in mind, the very same board members who claimed that additional charter school seats would “derail” the cash-strapped district approved these new appointments without a second-thought.
To comment on this and other stories, please check out the Education Bridgeport! Facebook