State Education Department

School District Transportation Costs

School districts are generally required by law to provide transportation to and from school to all students residing within the district who do not live within a short distance of their school, regardless of whether that school is a public school within the district, a nonpublic school within the district, or a nonpublic school outside the district. Each district is responsible for making its own transportation arrangements, and the State Education Department is responsible for monitoring these arrangements. We examined the Departmentís monitoring of school district transportation costs outside New York City. At the time of our audit, these costs exceeded $1 billion a year.

We found the Department did not analyze these costs for the purpose of identifying improvement opportunities, but could identify such opportunities if it performed analyses of this kind. We identified a number of districts with unusually high costs as well as practices that might help the districts reduce their costs, such as using specialized software to maximize the efficiency of bus routes and coordinating with nearby districts to share buses that transport students to nonpublic schools, especially when such schools are located outside a district. We also determined that studies funded by Department grants to individual school districts had the potential to help districts make significant improvements in their transportation services. However, the potential benefits were not fully realized because the Department did not follow up with the districts, and did not share the study results with other school districts. We further determined that the Department could be more thorough in its review of school district transportation contracts and the reimbursement claims related to these contracts.

For a complete copy of Report 2000-S-56 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.