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Should Public School Districts Pay for Private School Busing?

The state requires public school districts to pay the transportation costs for students attending private and parochial schools.

New Jersey public school districts have been paying to bus parochial and private school students for years.

News reports put the annual cost at $77 million a year for about 90,000 students of religious and other private schools, money that comes out of local budgets funded by property taxes.

According to The Asbury Park Press, districts are required "to spend up to $884 on transportation for each student attending a private school, be it on a school bus or a parent driving the child to class." The state is one of only a handful that pay for private-school busing, with 34 banning all public funding for private schooling.

Patch wants to know what you think. Respond to our poll and offer your thoughts in the comment section below.

For a closer look at South Orange - Maplewood's transportation costs, click

Theresa May 23, 2012 at 04:21 PM
I completely agree! We pay taxes just like everyone else in our town and private or parochial school children should be afforded the same transportation to education as public school children. It is all or nothing - all children of tax paying families should receive the same busing. Think of it this way, the only thing the private schoolers 'take' from the town is busing - no teachers' salaries, no extra books or materials, etc. There are less kids requiring public funding and all the families are asking is for busing. How dare someone say I pay taxes and am paying to bus another child to a private school. Shame on you, especially with children!
Hedley May 23, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Since when do we live in a pay as you go/a la carte tax system? If you send your kids to private school (and congratulations to you for being able to afford to do so) why should you be entitled to any rebate of taxes just because you chose to opt out of public schooling? There are loads of municipal and county services that I don't utilize so should I get tax money back for those? Assuming the answer is no, why then, should opting out of public schools be any different?
KLF May 24, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Agree with Hedley. It's akin to purchasing all your books at Barnes & Noble instead of using the public library. If I decide to buy books instead of borrowing them from a publicly funded source, do I get a refund of my portion of taxes that go toward the Millburn Public LIbrary? And what about the town pool? If I join a country club instead of using the Millburn town pool, do I get a rebate? Then there's the matter of the town day camp. I've always sent my kids to private camps, so maybe I should ask for a refund for my portion of taxes that goes toward funding the Millburn summer camp. And Millburn Recreation ... my kids play on private club teams, like the Millburn Soccer Club. They don't participate in Millburn Rec soccer. I know my taxes are funding Millburn Rec, but I don't use it.
KLF May 24, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Point is ... all these things -- including public education -- are public goods. Even if you don't use them, they exist for the benefit of the public as a whole. The public funds public schools so that we will have an educated society. And that benefits everyone. That's what you are paying for.
KLF May 24, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Those whose goal is to have as low a tax bill as possible need to consider buying homes in a different community. You can live in a lower-tax community and still send your children to the same private schools they go to now.

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