The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local News

March 12, 2014

Anderson school officials propose transportation cost-saving measures

Six-point transportation plan will trim costs by $1.5 million

(Continued)

The areas targeted for cuts are in programs where the district has most recently begun providing transportation services, the two men said.

“We will take a hard look at what other practical alternatives we have,” Brown added. “We are not going to recommend at this juncture that there would be elimination of transportation services.”

One proposal he said that’s being reviewed is the possible return in 2015 of school “walk zones.”

School transportation costs became the subject of intense debate in the current session of the Indiana General Assembly because of a 2012 law that was set to take effect this year requiring public school districts to apply property tax revenue to debt payments before other expenses such as buses or building repairs.

But many districts already struggling financially because of statewide property tax caps cut said the new rules would leave them so strapped for cash that they might not be able to continue providing bus transportation.

No school system in Madison County threatened to eliminate transportation but several districts, including Anderson, Elwood, Franton-Lapel and South Madison faced losing more than half their transportation funds if the new law were to take effect as planned.

Dennis L. Costerison, executive director of the Indiana Association of School Business Officials, said Wednesday that a bill delaying the effective date of the debt payment regulation for three years was signed by members of a House and Senate conference committee on Wednesday morning.

Although he wasn’t certain of the schedule, that conference committee report must be approved by the full House and Senate — which Costerison expects to occur before the General Assembly adjourns this week.

Meanwhile, other county school districts haven’t yet begun formulating plans for how to deal with transportation costs.

Tim Smith, superintendent of Elwood schools, said on Wednesday there haven’t been substantive discussions about transportation funding in Elwood.

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