Sunday, January 5, 2014

Delaware politics as usual: bail-outs for casinos, but it costs too much to transport homeless students

Truly, if you follow the money you will understand our ethics.

In Delaware we can "invest" millions of taxpayer dollars in Fisker, or to bail out casinos, or to fund a new charter school slush fund developed by an illegal task force.

But providing transportation so that homeless children can get to school, and therefore have a shot at a normal, productive life?

Not so damn fast.

You see, homeless kids don't necessarily live on convenient bus routes, so the districts have to pay extra to transport them, and they are whining to the State that it's too much money.

How much is too much?  According to the WNJ article today, Cape Henlopen School District provides transportation for 86 homeless students.  The cost of transporting each of those students is--apparently--about $27.74 per student per day, for a grand total of $429,500.

(Look, for $27.74 per student per day, I'd like to contract to drive about ten of them to school every day myself.)

But Cape, which is one of the districts claiming it is having financial difficulty with this cost, only actually pays $4.18 per student per day, because the State picks up the rest in transportation funds.

So, as Jethro used to tell Uncle Jed, "That's 'nought, 'nought, and carry the 'nought . . ."

$64,500 in actual costs to the district per year, and that cost of transporting homeless children from their cars and shelter is apparently too expensive?

Cape Henlopen Director of Business Operations Oliver Gumbs suggested the statewide contract as a potential cost-saving measure for Delaware’s school districts. 
“This is a very expensive program,” Gumbs said. “The majority is being spent at the state level, but the districts are still spending a lot.”
And the only reason that the districts are paying anything is that the Delaware General Assembly decided that they needed the money from that transportation fund to pay out some more corporate welfare:
In 2011, Delaware’s school districts were forced to pay for 10 percent of the costs after the state legislature tightened its belt following the economic downturn.

Yep, we live in a Red Blue* State, controlled by the Delaware Democratic Party, which thinks it is fine to bail out multi-million-dollar casinos, but that it is apparently OK to balk at the cost of sending homeless kids to school.

Or, think of it this way:  how much of the State's $119 million Race to the Top grant was actually spent on getting homeless kids to school, as opposed to paying for new assessment systems for the teachers willing to stand in the gap and help these kids succeed?

I'd tell you that the answer was none of it, except that DE DOE has already admitted that it doesn't know precisely what it has spent, so it is possible that some rogue administrator somewhere diverted a few bucks to keep kids living in shelter coming to school.

Of course, when we find that administrator, the Attorney General's Office will be ready to prosecute.

*Sorry, Hube, I keep forgetting this isn't a Red State based on my new definition of a Democrat in Delaware:  A Republican who favors marriage equality.


Hube said...

Yep, we live in a Red State, controlled by the Delaware Democratic Party,

Red state ...?

Hube said...

Great post, BTW ...

JdL said...

I kept looking for Mr. Newton to clarify with something like "As a libertarian, I of course oppose any government involvement in any of these activities, including busing children to school." But I looked in vain (or did I miss it somewhere?).

Conclusion: Steve Newton, you're no libertarian. You're just another socialist, but with different priorities from some other socialists.

As a libertarian, I oppose government involvement in such mis-labeling. But I have to ask: Mr. Newton, have you no shame?

Steven H. Newton said...

JdL, nice try. If I have had one, I have had a thousand of those of you who have your own purist definition of Libertarian, and who drop by to tell me I'm not.

I am a pragmatic libertarian. I supported Gary Johnson for President. I support many of the Ron and Rand Paul positions. Intriguingly, you miss the point that, for example, neither of the last two Presidential standard-bearers of the LP have called for an end to public education. An end to Federal intrusion and involvement in public education, yep. An end to even State dictatorship over public education, yep. But an end to public education? In a perfect, Libertarian world, perhaps.

But the world we've got now is so corporatist controlled that there are actual freedom issues out there that you are apparently perfectly happy to let slide, plenty of Federal intrusions you are willing to ignore so that you can piously call me a socialist for pointing out the hypocrisy of current two-party politicians.

That's fine. Thanks for playing.

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