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 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
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.