Thursday, December 15, 2005

Reading, Writing, and Revolution

While leaving Washington DC via taxi to Reagan National Airport on December 14th my outgoing taxi driver explained his part-time bus driving job with DC's school district, Once I heard the his story I wanted him to stop so I could dump tea in the Potomac River since I was completely outraged by this clear example of government waste.

Here is an overview of the DC school district "special bus transportation program" (my wording since I failed to get the exact wording from my cabbie -- let's call him "Anton" for this posting):

  • The program is designed for "special needs students" with learning disabilities, personality issues, etc. -- it seems to be widely defined or not defined as to what students qualify for this service.
  • Bus capacities range from about 20 seats to 45 seats
  • Anton's bus contract guarantees him 7 hours of paid work each day, so 35 hours per week but with full fringe benefits
  • Anton typically drives for 3 hours each day since he typically has only 6 students to transport on his route even though his bus usually has 20 to 45 seats
  • Anton spends his other 4 hours of "free, DC school paid time" driving his cab to cart people like me around thus he is being paid twice for an average of 20 hours per week (4 hours of "free time" at DC schools X 5 days = 20 hours of "free time" that can be used to drive his cab).
  • Each bus requires 1.) one driver AND 2.) one attendant so TWO people per bus.

Then via an amazing coincidence when I arrived home in Minnesota I was driving to my book club last night when I heard a radio ad calling on citizens to donate school supplies so that our local teachers don't have to spend their own money buying supplies.


Ala. - $5,601 Alaska - 8,743 Ariz. - 5,033 Ark. - 5,470 Calif. - 6,298 Colo. - 6,165 Conn. - 8,800 Del. - 8,030 D.C. - $9,933 Fla. - 5,691 Ga. - 6,417 Hawaii - 6,487 Idaho - 5,218 Ill. - 7,185 Ind. - 6,871 Iowa - 6,547 Kan. - 6,211 Ky. - 5,922 La. - 5,652 Maine - 7,595 Md. - 7,496 Mass. - 8,444 Mich. - 7,662 Minn. - 7,051 Miss. - 5,014 Mo. - 6,143 Mont. - 6,214 Neb. - 6,422 Nev. - 5,736 N.H. - 6,742 N.J. - 10,283 N.M. - 5,748 N.Y. - 10,039 N.C. - 5,990 N.D. - 5,830 Ohio - 6,999 Okla. - 5,394 Ore. - 7,027 Pa. - 7,824 R.I. - 8,242 S.C. - 6,114 S.D. - 5,521 Tenn. - 5,343 Texas - 6,145 Utah - 4,331 Vt. - 7,938 Va. - 6,839 Wash. - 6,394 W.Va. - 7,093 Wis. - 7,716 Wyo. - 7,421

U.S. AVERAGE - $6,835

Source: 2002 DATA, U.S. Census Bureau,

Unfortunately this data is a bit dated and does not appear to include spending in schools from private sector sources, school fundraising events/vending machines, and federal tax dollars but given all that these 2002 statistics show that Washington DC spent nearly $10,000 per student or nearly $828.00 per student per month (based on 12 month year not a 9 month school year since fixed costs like school building maintenance is a 12 month cost). Let's assume 30 students per class room so we get total spending amount of $24,833 per month or $297,990 annually spent on one class room over a 12 month period. Then let's assume we pay a 1.) teacher and a 2.) teacher's assistant $85,000 per year leaves us with $212,990 remaining so what is the school spending this large amount of money on since staff costs are already accounted for???

I urge taxpayers to acquire a copy of your local public school's budget so you can review the key expenditures. If you detect potential government waste please contact the good people at Citizens Against Government Waste --

Class dismissed,


1 comment:

jdsqrd said...

My old school district of West Harrison is looking at moving to 4 longer school days per week to eliminate one day of transportation costs weekly to save operational expenses. I think they would be better served by longer days year 'round with a shorter year to also reduce energy costs (damn kids have air conditioning now) as well. But, alas, my opinion counts for nought as I'm just an out of town DINK now.