The California Assembly voted today to restore $248 million in school bus funding to California public schools. The bill, SB 81, had a final vote of 60 – 5. Gilroy’s Assemblyman Luis Alejo voted in favor of the bill, according to a news release.
The bill passed on the Senate Floor 26-8 Thursday following the Assembly vote, and is now on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown. Once signed it would go into effect immediately.
In December, Gov. Brown initiated a series of budget trigger cuts after state revenues came in below expectations, which included eliminating all funding for home-to-school transportation.
In January, Alejo called on the Gov. Jerry Brown to use his discretion in avoiding the cut, citing its disproportionate effect on low-income and rural students throughout California. Many rural students live in areas miles from away from their school and have no other transportation choices besides public school busing.
SB 81 saves school busing by equitably distributing a small cut across all public schools in California, instead of a single large cut to the bus program. The bill has no additional cost to the state.
“In rural communities, school buses are the only way children can get to school,” said Alejo. “Under our constitution, school children have a right to a free public education, but if they don’t have the means to get to the classroom then how do they exercise that right? It is simply wrong to balance the budget on the backs of poor children. SB 81 is a fair approach to fix these injustices and immediately restore school bus funding.”
Luis Alejo represents the 28th District in the California State Assembly, which consists of San Benito County, the Salinas Valley, North Monterey County, South Santa Clara County and the city of Watsonville.