In reading the letter from Mr. Bayfield, we can see why there is confusion about funding for school transportation.
Here are several facts to keep in mind. First, the state of New Mexico requires every school district to provide free transportation to and from school for all eligible students.
Second, the state funding formula does not provide enough money to transport our students to school. Because of this shortfall, the district has to use other funds to supplement transportation. Over the last three years, the school district’s supplemental transportation requests to the School Board totaled $550,000. This takes away from other needs including student learning materials, special programs, and teacher salaries.
Third, the state transportation formula does not accurately count the number of students riding the busses. Last year, the state’s student count was limited to one data point, the 40th school day. In order to provide a more accurate count, the state is trying a new method this year by collecting and averaging student ridership on the 80th and 120th school day. Because of athletics, music programs, and other activities, student transportation counts dramatically fluctuate from day to day.
We invite Mr. Bayfield and anyone with interest to visit with LAPS Transportation Director Keith Rosenbaum to learn more about how transportation is funded in New Mexico. With leadership from the School Board, LAPS operates with integrity and transparency. Please feel free to call 505.663.2268 to make an appointment.