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Taxes for Taxis Exposure Results in Policy Changes

Here is how For the Good of Illinois, and our OpenTheBooks.com website saves taxpayers money.

At least 3 out of the 48 districts using taxi cabs to shuttle special needs and homeless children have decided to do something about this wasteful practice. We applaud their efforts.

Three Illinois School Districts Team Up to Eliminate Costly Taxi Rides

Gurnee Elementary District 56, Warren Township High School District 121 and Woodland Elementary District 50 near Chicago have entered into an agreement to share in-house school bus operations to achieve two goals: to save money and improve student safety.

Gurnee Elementary District 56 Superintendent John Hutton said the three districts spend about $850,000 annually, combined, in private taxi service. What bothers him most about this arrangement is the lack of control the districts have over the quality of the cab drivers.

Hutton added that new, well-equipped minivans will replace the costly taxicabs and provide “a good safe ride for the children.”

For the Good of Illinois reported that school districts statewide spent about $48 million from 2006 to 2011 on taxi service for students with special needs, including homeless students: 42 districts spent $28 million and five spent $20 million. So, it was just 5 percent of Illinois districts that “racked up $48 million in taxi charges,” as 95 percent complied with the state mandate to educate special needs children without taxicab transportation.

The “Taxes for Taxis” issue goes far beyond the mere use of cabs for students. This story calls into question the massive cost of Federal and State mandates regarding special education and homeless students. It also exposes the needless waste caused by our top-heavy School district bureaucracy. For those who like math, I put it in algebraic terms for you.

Lobbied for Mandates X 890 IL Districts = Expensive Bureaucracy.

There have to at least 100 better ways to address this issue, the easiest being to provide special needs parents with a transportation stipend. The costs need to capped. Special needs students cannot become an open-ended cost center. Our society is wealthy, but not wealthy enough to fund massive open-ended mandates.

It’s that simple.

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