Posted by Patrick Croasdaile (Contributor) on April 6th, 2011 at 2:57 pm
A bill introduced in Salem this morning, HB 3622 (PDF), is being watched by biking and walking advocates for its possible impact on school transportation funding.
Authored by Rep. Betty Komp of Woodburn, the bill seeks to revise the method of calculating transportation block grants from the State School Fund distributions by allowing “district school [boards] to determine distances for which school [districts] will provide transportation. […] Allows Superintendent of Public Instruction to impose sanctions on school district for failure to maintain safe school buses and school activity vehicles.”
Because the bill deals with a block grant, any savings from bus service cuts are kept by the district and redistributed at the discretion of the Superintendent. This will likely mean that cuts to busing will in turn be reallocated to a number of district budgetary items, teachers’ salaries a possibility.
On the matter of the bill, Gerik Kransky of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance had this to say: “[we] would like to see more incentives from the state for school districts to encourage walking and biking as well as more money for Safe Routes to School.”
The Speaker’s office has referred the bill to various committees in the House. While the bill’s committee destination is unknown as of yet, by the end of the week, we’ll have a better idea of where the bill is headed. Possible destinations are the House Education Committee or even the House Ways and Means (Budget) Committee.
Download a PDF of the bill, here.
In other Salem news, two bike-related bills had public hearings/work sessions today. SB 130, which would add bicycle traffic signals into Oregon’s list of approved traffic control devices, gets its first shot in the House after passing the Senate 28-1 in February.