Government schools are an expensive endeavor, especially when union labor and no-bid contracts are involved.
The New York City Department of Education has been catching heat from transportation unions lately over a decision to solicit bids for private transportation services in an effort to curtail runaway costs.
The district has not sought “significant” bids for student transportation services in 33 years. That means it’s probably been using the same companies for years, without competitive bids to naturally control rising costs.
And those costs are increased every year because the companies use high-paid union drivers.
In response to the union criticism, the DOE recently issued a “School Bus Bids FAQ” which makes a staggering admission: the city spends $6,900 per student (for a total of $1.1 billion) per year for bus transportation.
In a 180 day school year, that’s $38.33 per student a day. At that rate it might be more cost-effective for the school system to distribute vouchers for kids to take taxis.
City officials say New York spends more than twice what Los Angeles (the nation’s second-largest city) spends on K-12 student transportation.