Is Denver Public Schools in the transportation business? If you listen to Superintendent Tom Boasberg – it isn’t. Boasberg recently stated: “At the end of the day, Denver Public Schools is not a transportation agency.”
To the nearly 32,000 students of the district, who have access to DPS transportation daily, this must seem puzzling. DPS has nearly 400 hard-working bus drivers transporting them on yellow buses each day – about 14,000 miles worth!
And given that DPS spends $25 million annually on transporting those students to their neighborhood schools and schools of choice, how can they determine that they’re not in the transportation business?
To be fair, DPS is not in the transportation business for the majority of its students. Nearly 61,000 DPS students have to figure out their own way to school daily.
DPS could get out of the transportation business. State law does not require school districts to provide transportation services. It could partner with businesses, entrepreneurs and organizations that want to find new ways and means of getting students safely to and from school.
But before going down the road of dismantling its transportation department, the DPS board and staff should undertake several actions to enhance its transportation offerings and better align its transportation policy with the needs of its students. With roughly 66% of DPS students ineligible for transportation services to and from school, we can do better than that by:
• Changing the DPS Board transportation policy for high school students;
• Examining the efficiencies of the current DPS transportation offerings;
• Improving Success Express ridership through a community-led process; and
• Asking the community to approve a transportation mill levy override.
For a more detailed explanation and rationale for these four recommendations, please read “DPS Transportation Policies to Match Its School Choice Policy.”
Photo Credit: Andy Cross, The Denver Post