The Commander

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Bus Cuts a Bad Choice for Choice Students

Unsigned, Editorial Board

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  For the past several years, schools in the San Diego Unified School District have minimized their bus fleets. UC High has undergone its own changes, but the greatest change will happen during the 2017-18 school year. Choice students at UC High will stop receiving school sponsored transportation next year. “…We talked to [The Department of] Transportation, and they made an exception for our Choice students this year, but they won’t next year,” said Head Secretary Norma Smith. According to Smith, Voluntary Enrollment Exchange Program [VEEP] students will be allowed to continue taking the bus, but only as long as they come from feeder schools Bethune, Balboa, Boone, Chavez, Cholas/Mead, Freese, Marshall, Penn, Porter, and Zamarano.

  Here at The Commander, we fear what the cease of transportation would mean for UC High. The loss of students would be entirely detrimental to the school. UC High has a decent amount of Choice students who must ride the bus to get here and receive their education. UC High is a progressive institute of learning. According to the Niche website, which uses data supplied by the US Department of Education, it is ranked number 13 out of 100 of public high schools in San Diego ( Students choose to Choice in because this is a good school where students are open to many opportunities — such as the Biomed and Aaron Price Fellows programs, to name a few — they can’t receive in their own neighborhoods. In 2015, UC High was first in the district in English and third in math on the SBAC standardized testing. Denying students the ability to attend UC High over a simple thing such as transportation is wrong.

  Now, there are legitimate reasons to cut busing. The school district is facing what the San Diego Union-Tribune calls “a looming 2.4 million” in budget cuts ( Buses are expensive; back in 2012, to transport one student, it cost 914 dollars per year. Since the amount has steadily been increasing since 1980, we can only assume the monetary value of a school bus seat has gotten even larger (

 However, the simple fact is that for some families, the school bus is the only viable means of transportation. So, what’s the alternative? Well, we don’t have many options. Budget cuts are an inescapable reality. (At least, for the school year they’re applied to.) But what does this mean for our school? Our school is funded through attendance. To put it plainly, fewer students mean less money. And money, as most of us are aware, makes the world go ‘round. Tightened funding doesn’t mean anything good for UC High students or staff.

 We find it prudent to address the concerns of students who fear this is happening because of their heritage. Many of the students bused to UC High are people of color. It hardly needs to be mentioned that UC High lies in a less-diverse neighborhood. Thankfully, discrimination is not at all a likely reason for the buses being canceled. Smith said, “This school has always been a very diverse campus… Our VEEP students live in a VEEP pattern, and that’s a very diverse population.” It is mostly VEEP students who are bussed to UC High.

  The cancellation of school buses for Choice students is truly a travesty. We must think of what it takes to pursue a good education in this day and age, and wonder if it’s fair. (With the new leadership in the White House and Department of Education, we can’t expect it to get more fair either.) Children should always have the chance to flourish, and be granted the opportunity to pursue the full, fulfilling life that an education can give to them. It’s deeply disappointing when circumstances prove that this is not always possible.

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Bus Cuts a Bad Choice for Choice Students