Legislation would allow Pa. to stop busing students to private schools out of state

March 23, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Alloway

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — State Sen. Richard Alloway introduced legislation Wednesday that would stop requiring public school districts on Pennsylvania's borders from transporting students to private schools out of state.

Currently, Pennsylvania's Public School Code mandates districts transport youths in their boundaries to private schools within a 10-mile radius of those boundaries, Alloway said.

"Our taxpayers are paying to bus students out of state," he said.

Senate Bill 869 would amend the Public School Code to remove the requirement. Alloway, R-Franklin/Adams/York, said it is part of a comprehensive package of legislation seeking to ease costly mandates.

"We are trying to untie the hands of our local school districts," Alloway said.

Waynesboro Area School District transports 55 students on four different routes to Grace Academy, Broadfording Christian Academy, St. Mary Catholic School, St. Maria Goretti High School and Mother Seton School, according to Transportation Director Missie Baer.

Tuscarora School District Business Administrator Eric Holtzman said his district transports to many of the same schools, plus Heritage Academy, Gateway Christian Academy and Truth Christian Academy. It buses 27 students at an annual cost of $99,778, 65 percent of which is reimbursed from the state.

"All of it is state money anyway, so to Pennsylvania taxpayers it's $100,000 a year," Holtzman said.

Busing out of state can be costly and inconvenient, especially when there is a conflict between school schedules, Alloway said. School districts can still provide the service if they choose, but they wouldn't be required if the bill passes, he said.

Introducing the bill can start a discussion of the plan's merits, he said.

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