“My dad is a single-parent who goes to school and works a night shift,” said senior Chris Bell. “So asking him to give me a ride home from school with all of his work and homework is a lot to expect.”
Bell is only one of the many students at BSM who relies on a bus to get home after school. With over 90 percent of the BSM student body participating in at least one after-school activity, buses right after school cannot cater to all students. Unfortunately, with the budget cuts in place for next year, the activity buses––buses that leave at 5:30 and take students to both Plymouth and Minneapolis––will be cut.
While BSM hopes to make the school affordable for many, they seem to have narrowed their target to families who can afford to buy their child a car or give them transportation to school. This decreases the student experience at BSM and harms exactly what the school is trying to improve.
Without these buses, a portion of the BSM student population will not be able to participate in any after-school extracurriculars, whether this includes sports, activities, clubs or even work study.
One of the stated goals of BSM’s budget cuts for next year is to be affordable for middle-class families. Removing the activity bus clearly contradicts this goal by making it more difficult for students who can’t provide their own transportation to participate in activities.
It is true that the number of students riding the activity bus may be inconsistent and on some days may have few riders, but that doesn’t mean that the bus isn’t needed. Depending on the season, students participate in different activities and need the bus in different amounts. However, over the past four years, the total number of students riding the activity bus has only increased while the number of buses has gradually decreased.
One of the clear benefits of going to BSM is the availability of a wide variety of activities and athletics to allow students to take a break from school work and find their passions. The entire school community encourages participating in these extra curriculars, so much so that admissions often highlights this aspect of the school to prospective parents. Offering many activities is great, but BSM needs to ensure that students are actually able to participate in them.
Every student at BSM’s home situation is different. Some parents can give their children a ride home from school after activities, others can’t for a wide variety of reasons. If BSM really wants to be affordable and keep enrollment high, they need to cater to all students. Cutting the activity bus will harm students and stop them from being able to participate in an essential part of the BSM experience.
“It would be cheaper for us quite honestly to call a cab to send those kids home,” Dr. Tift said in an interview with the Knight Errant. And that might be true. But will BSM be calling taxis to take students home after activities? Will BSM even talk to these kids and try to find a solution? Or, once school starts next year, will we just forget about these students?