The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 17, 2010

Schools eye transportation cuts

From staff reports

— Local superintendents said Friday that they were bracing for those cuts in state funding next year, including potential cuts in transportation funding.

Gov. Jay Nixon warned in a Thursday interview with the Associated Press that cuts could be coming to certain public school programs, and that school busing subsidies are “on the watch list” for potential cuts. The state last year halved busing aid to schools, and some officials have watched for still more cuts.

“We have had more in the past to subsidize our (transportation) costs, and we just won’t have that,” Phil Cook, the superintendent of the Carl Junction School District, said Friday.

Cook said Carl Junction’s transportation costs are about $1.2 million per year, and this year, the district received $150,000 from the state, half of what they got last year. Next year, it is not projecting anything from the state.

In a report presented to the Joplin School Board earlier this week, school officials reported the district this year is receiving nearly $434,600 in state aid for transportation. That covers about 29.8 percent of the total cost this year compared to 69.9 percent last year and 64 percent the year before that.

The district’s transportation budget totals about $1.5 million, according to Superintendent C.J. Huff.

Huff said Thursday that the district is expecting a total cut of 10 percent in state funding. The question, he said, is where those cuts will come from: Whether that will be from the basic funding formula for schools, from “”categorical” expenditures like transportation, or a combination thereof.

Other area school districts also are trying to anticipate less transportation funding and also in other areas, and how to deal with those situations.

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