State Budget Cuts Leave Schools with 50% Less Transportation Funding

La Honda-Pescadero district among hardest hit in mid-year cuts triggered by state's revenue shortfall.

School districts faced another round of funding cuts, this time mid-year, as the state fell $2.2 billion short of the predicted $4 billion in revenue. a 50 percent cut to save the state $248 million, Gov. Jerry Brown announced in December.

K-12 education funding was the last area Gov. Jerry Brown intended to cut despite having to reduce the state’s deficit. If the state had met its revenue requirement, no cuts would have been made. If the state accrued $3 billion, the state would have reduced funding for UC schools, Cal State Universities, community colleges, K-12 transportation and child care. But because actual revenues came up $2.2 billion less than predicted, K-12 additionally faced cuts. 

Among the hardest-hit districts in San Mateo County is the La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District, which had $219 in funding cut per student. Funding to La Honda-Pescadero dropped from $148,009 in funding from the 2010-2011 school year to $77,732 this year. The experienced $54 cut per student. Cabrillo received close to $329,000 in total transportation for the 2010-11 school year and will have $172,779 for the upcoming year. 

California is the first state to completely eliminate state funding for school bus transportation.

School District Regular Transport. State Aid Special Ed Transport. State Aid Total State Aid for Transport. Potential Cut Cut per Average Daily Attendance student San Mateo County Office of Education $0 $3,183,492 $3,183,492 $1,671,926 $0 Sequoia Union High $491,156 $128,581 $619,737 $325,477 $40 Ravenswood City Elem. $357,717 $0 357,717 $187,868 $43 Cabrillo Unif. $328,986 $0 $328,986 $172,779 $54 South San Francisco Unif. $0 $319,565 $319,565 $167,831 $18 San Mateo-Foster City Elementary $226,153 $0 $226,153 $118,772 $12 San Mateo Union High $192,393 $26,277 $218,670 $114,842 $14 Jefferson Elementary $216,200 $0 $216,200 $113,645 $17 Redwood City Elementary $7,688 $173,578 $181,266 $95,198 $11 La Honda-Pescadero Unified $148,009 $0 $148,009 $77,732 $219 Las Lomitas Elementary $130,025 $0 130,025 $68,287 $61 Pacifica $54,762 $0 $54,762 $28,760 $10 Menlo Park Elementary $45,656 $0 45,656 $23,978 $11 Jefferson Union High $44,265 $0 $44,265 $23,247 $5 San Bruno Park Elem. $24,299 $0 $24,299 $12,762 $5 Belmont-Redwood Shores Elem. $21,596 $0 $21,596 $11,342 $4 San Carlos Elem. $17,580 $0 $17,580 $9,233 $3 Brisbane Elem. $12,548 $0 $12,548 $6,590 $12 Burlingame Elementary $4,046 $0 $4,046 $2,125 $1 Millbrae Elem. $2,078 $0 $2,078 $1,091 $1 Bayshore Elementary $20 $0 $20 $11 $0 Hillsborough Elementary $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 Portola Valley Elementary $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 Woodside Elementary $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

School districts must finalize their budgets by June 30, and still adhere to a federal legal obligation from Assembly Bill 114. The bill requires that schools provide transportation for the district’s students, amongst other services, despite funding cuts, Chief Business Official Raul Parungao said. So the district will likely pull the rest of transportation funding from the General Fund, he added.

“We lose the funding, but we can’t un-do our transportation program,” he said.

He added that the hardest hit students are the 300 of the district’s 1,200 special education students, who rely on “curb-to-curb” transportation from their home to the school.

For safety or medical reasons, these students cannot walk to school or use public transportation, said the district’s Special Education Director Terese Talmage.

“We don’t know how this is going to work,” Talmage said. “My concern is that many of these students could get lost if someone didn’t pick them up at their door [if these services were to be cut].”

Note: The original article quoted Talmage speculating about potential job losses, which the district has assured will not happen. All services will also continue to be provided to the students who need them.

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