Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sprawl Schools...

...in 2006 I published a law review article with the University of Pacific law review that discussed the advantages of incorporating smart growth principles into school building.

A variety of counter-responses discussed on my proposals for more neighborhood schools--ones that many students could walk or bike to--did not make financial sense because schools could be more cheaply built on the suburban and exurban fringes. This was primarily because land was cheaper in those sprawl areas.

Unfortunately, land costs are only part of the overall school cost equation. In this case, another major expense is the fuel costs of busing children to these schools built on the fringes.

This story is bearing out that concern and converting it into a reality:
f you think you have gas pump sticker shock, consider the Putnam County School system, which uses about 7,000 gallons of diesel every 20 days to keep 50 big buses running over routes that total 2,668 miles.

The big yellow vehicles get about eight miles to the gallon. It takes 81 gallons to fill the tank of one.

Here's another way to look at the bus fuel nightmare: the current year's budget contained $246,000 for diesel fuel, but officials recently had to get a budget amendment, bumping it up to $316,000.

"Our actual costs for fuel this year came in at 57-percent higher than what was budgeted," said Schools Director Kathleen Airhart.
Do you naysayers still need more proof?