Program to pay parents in Buffalo schools to drive kids would cost about $800,000, proposal shows

Posted at 3:27 PM, Sep 19, 2022

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A private consultant has released its findings on a potential pilot program under consideration by Buffalo Public Schools that would address its school bus driver shortage.

The program, called the Parent Transportation Reimbursement Pilot Program, would pay parents in the district per mile to drive their children to school. Only families whose children require school bus transportation to and from school would qualify.

According to the report released by consultants at 22nd Century Technologies, which responded to a Request For Proposals (RFP) for the project, the program could come with an up to $856,332 price tag each year.

Last month, the district sent a survey to parents asking if they'd be willing to participate in such a program.Based on the findings by 22nd Century Technologies, 1,500 qualifying parents indicated interest.

The following factors were considered in determining the cost of the project:

  • 1,500 parents
  • An average of 6 miles per school day
  • 144 potential school days per year, which is 180 school days at an 80% attendance rate

This adds up to 1,296,000 miles per year. At the current IRS reimbursement rate of $0.625 per mile, parents would be reimbursed a combined total of $810,000. An additional $46,332 would be paid in processing fees to 22nd Century Technologies.

According to the findings in 22nd Century Technologies' proposal, the goal of the program is to reduce the number of school bus routes in the district.

The pilot program is still under consideration by the district, and a final determination has not been made as to whether it will be implemented.