Red Wing residents were pressured to "Vote yes, yes" for higher taxes to provide more school funding. I did, even though I am typically conservative when it comes to taxes.
As a business analyst, I went through the school's financial books in detail and found some pretty astounding numbers. I specifically asked the Yes Yes Committee what the $4 million earmarked for transportation was being used for. This was the response:
"The entire budget for pupil support services in 2016-17 was $4.7 million. This includes Transportation, as well as Food Service, Nursing, Social Work, Counseling, and more. Our transportation costs have risen from $1.8 million ten years ago to $2.6 million, a 44% increase. Unfortunately, there is only one bus company in the area who will offer us a contract and so there is no competition to keep prices down."
However, there are duplicative items for every item mentioned in the budget. It makes the public feel it's being deceived.
This hits home for my family specifically, because the district is not providing transportation for my daughter. We live over a mile from her school and she is 10. Let that sink in. You want a 10-year-old girl to walk alone through the city for two miles daily?
See, I voted yes, yes so my children could have their basic needs met. Now, I have put my job at risk to drive my daughter to and from school. How am I going to pay all of that tax money if I lose my job?
If the school is spending $2.6 million on transportation per year, that equals out to $934 per student (probably more considering students not receiving transportation). At this rate, we could probably afford a large caravan for each high schooler with a license to do this task … it seems beyond ridiculous. I'd be happy to help negotiate a contract with another transportation company -- I'm sure one would happily take the $2.6 million and pick up kids within a reasonable radius.