Why are RSD205 taxpayers paying for busing to out-of-school daycare?

An article in Monday’s Rockford Register Star concluded that shifting to elementary school zones is putting a crimp in the free busing of hundreds of students to day care centers before and after school. This should be good news for RSD205 taxpayers. Talk about a “free ride” at the taxpayer’s expense!

The district has been providing transportation to day care facilities free of charge since the 1990s under the current choice assignment plan, even before the court ordered busing. The day care centers have, in most cases, stopped providing their own vehicles since the district is providing the ride.

What state or federal mandate requires the school district to provide free transportation for parent’s children to day care centers outside of the schools at taxpayer expense?

What about the liability to district taxpayers for all of these extra students being on district buses transported to non-school facilities? Is the district indemnified by state law in this case? The district does have a combination of insurance and self insurance for its riders, and hopefully, this will be sufficient in case of an accident.

Just because “choice” busing is continuing with the phase-in of zoned schools, doesn’t mean that taxpayers should continue to pay for busing outside the school’s purview or limits of authority, especially since the state is reducing transportation funding.

Even more amazing are the comments of the service providers who may lose business. One such complaint is as follows:


“Everyone’s on pins and needles trying to figure out what to do,” said LaToya Johnson, site director for the Rockford Boys & Girls Club, Northwest Unit, at the Northwest Community Center. “I don’t think the district understands how much this will cost families.”

I don’t think Ms Johnson understands how much this has cost the taxpayers in the last nine years? What about the inefficiencies of the current choice system? According to transportation Director Greg Wilson, under the current “choice” plan, 15 buses take about 90 kids across the city to “ONE” day care center. OMG!

The article also mentions that the school district will be working with day care centers concerning the fall busing schedule and may provide transportation to one or more centers in each assignment zone. Why? Is there a new grant supplementing the lack of state transportation funding?

However, if the district can determine in some cases, that they could save money by dropping the children off at one or two centers in each zone, versus dropping each of them off at grandmother’s house or at their home, the increased efficiencies would help the total transportation costs.

Taxes are due in about five weeks. Could any extra costs, for out-of-school busing to day care facilities at taxpayer’s expense, be deducted as a charitable contribution on our tax returns?