Riding the School Bus

RSU taxpayers are appalled by the expense of administrators traversing the distance between Katahdin and SACS.  How will they feel about busing costs for children?  ..in fuel, wear and tear…. ? ….in lost educational and involvement opportunities for children and families? 

“…Rural school busing might indeed be understood by people in the communities whose schools have been consolidated as a sort of continuing contingent damage; although the schools are gone (the initial damage), long bus rides continue to impose hardships on the community’s children (Spence 2000a; Zars, 1998). Witham (1997) argues that children’s time on long rides has economic value that is not accounted for in consolidation schemes….” image…We suggest that findings from this study might inform discussions about a) elementary enrollment levels need to assure rides of appropriate duration; b) the influence on one-campus models of district organization on length of ride; and, c) acceptable grade-span configurations for rural schools.  Enlarging schools by increasing grade span might, in fact, be preferable to enlarging schools by increasing attendance area….” Read the full study Riding the School Bus – Howley, Howley and Shamblin


6 responses to “Riding the School Bus

  1. Money will not be saved by this, just longer more exhausting rides for kids. It is a shame that they instill fear in taxpayers that our taxes will go up and we have to do something. I would say spend less money on foolish programs that do not work. The impact on our communities will not be good. Schools are a draw to an area. The ties between schools and the community are so important. Long bus rides will do nothing for a child’s education.


    • You are absolutely right — consolidation costs, it does not save. The distance between Katahdin and SACS is expensive, say nothing of families wrestling with gas bills to maintain involvement. …and what to do with the abandoned building? What if they “turn it over to the town” as they threw out as a possibility? So much for emulating Spruce Mountain, where the RSU pays to keep the old school open for community purposes. This Board would let Katahdin’s communities foot the bill alone – while helping pay for SACS new roof.

      I don’t know if you were at the meeting on Monday? …but there was substantial support among some Board members for a new school. Easy peasy — all you have to do is subject children to overcrowding, disrepair and long bus rides and in 15 years or so…. Voila! You get a new school! That’s where some of the the pressure is coming from, along with the desire of the Chairman and others to draw investment into their own communities — the costs to their children and communities is lower after all.

      Board members want a “new school we can be proud of”…? and “bigger sports teams”. That is the difference between them and me. I’m proud of these children and they deserve optimal investment of our resources. Why is the roof leaking on their heads for heaven’s sake, while they spend $100k on consultants and engineers? Why spend money on “programs that don’t work” and threaten that teachers will be cut first if the community tries to defund those during budget time?

      If you are interested, some of the best research on the impact of bussing can be found in “Education on a Human Scale” here on this website: https://atimberedchoir.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/education-on-a-human-scale/ It’s in the first half of the admittedly long pdf. There is a hard copy at the Sherman Library, too.


  2. A new school is a foolish idea! How do we pay for it? What are they trying to tax us into poverty? You already have buildings. Use them, fix them. In the mean time our kids get hung out to dry. Oh but that’s okay because in 15 years we will have a new school. Talk about not caring for your community and kids. We need to think now, consolidate Katahdin at the High School and leave SACS alone too.a new school does not make a better education, and neither do all the new fads and trends in education we are seeing. Love seeing kids being used as guinea pigs for the latest unproved educational fad. How about back to the basics and a return to common sense in all areas.


    • One of the most asinine moments of Monday’s meeting came from Mr. Walker, who said “People kick and scream because they want things to stay the same and then kick and scream because they don’t want to pay…” …then pressing for a new school in the same breath! …as if building a new school were some sort of cost-saving measure! (..there was some other stuff about Bosnia, Yugoslavia…? It got weird).

      If you want a new school, “..hanging kids out to dry…” is the way to do it. …or wet, with roofs leaking on their heads. Subject them to inhuman and expensive bus rides, overcrowding and disrepair so the State will ride in on its white horse and build a new school – in 15 years. Meanwhile, yes, children absolutely will “hung out to dry”. The damage will be irreparable.

      How would things be different if you had a Katahdin Board, rather than an RSU one? Would you “..throw your children under the bus..” (Phil Knowles’ terminology not mine) to fund and fill SACS? Would you spend $100k on consultants etc. while the roof leaks?

      People may think I’m fighting to save Katahdin, but what I’m really doing is fighting for the right of Katahdin’s communities to make their own decisions. The RSU model made it legal for the likes of Greg Ryan and Scott Walker to shutter schools in other communities, in which they have no stake, to serve their own preference for large schools and desire for a new building they “can be proud of”. – but it doesn’t make it ethical.

      How would Katahdin look if you had a dedicated Katahdin Board, budgeting all the money from the four communities plus the State contribution?


      • Katahdin would look a lot different if we had a board for MSAD 25 again.


        • You are right. You, and your communities will have to fight hard to restore your right to do what is best for Katahdin’s children, whether or not it serves an RSU determined to consolidate North.

          They took tuition to the South off the table, even though it is, perhaps an attractive second choice to saving Katahdin for Sherman families, or, perhaps, because of it.

          Timbered Classrooms is here for you, and others who take this on, and wishes you well.


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