Stratford to Pay $1 Million to Bus Magnet School Kids

The cost to transport magnet school students has increased as a result of decreased state funding.

Stratford will pay more than $158,000 next year to bus 92 students to two Bridgeport magnet schools.

The town has to shoulder the unexpected increase to its school budget because of a drop in state transportation funding for Bridgeport, according to Michael Feeney, the chief operating officer for Stratford schools.

"This year they found transportation is more than what [a state] grant is providing," Feeney said after a budget committee meeting Tuesday night.

As a result, Stratford will have to pay $69,000 to transport 40 students to Discovery Magnet School, and $89,700 to bus 52 students to the Fairchild Wheeler Magnet Campus, a multi-magnet high school set to open in the fall.

The combined cost makes up most of a $209,000 proposed increase to the school board's 2013-14 funding allocation for magnet school transportation, which has a total budget of just over $1 million.

Stratford pays for the cost associated with sending a total of 252 students to seven magnet schools in the area.

Feeney said school officials received a letter from Bridgeport saying the per capita transportation cost for a magnet school student next fall will be $3,000, $1,300 of which will be reimbursed via a state grant. That leaves Stratford responsible for a per-student charge of $1,700.

If Stratford decided to use its own buses to transport magnet students, the cost to ship students just to Discovery would total $100,000, about $10,000 more than what the town is planning on paying Bridgeport, Feeney said.


After revisions over the past month, the proposed school budget for fiscal year 2013-14 comes in at $96,804,974, a 2.99 percent increase over the current fiscal year's budget, which was passed last year with a 0.67 percent increase.

A final budget is expected to be sent to Mayor John A. Harkins for approval by mid-February.

Stratford Patch will continue to provide updates on budget deliberations in the coming days.

Theresa January 23, 2013 at 06:40 PM
My parents had to figure out a way to get me to a parochial high school from Shelton. Eventually the Shelton bus service complied but I spent several years getting a ride to school from The Mother in The Mustang.
David January 23, 2013 at 06:40 PM
What is a Magnet School? Are they effective? Are they private schools? Does the town pay for buses at the private schools? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnet_school
Kelly Coble January 24, 2013 at 12:07 AM
The headline for this article is incorrect. The $1 million dollars is, according to the article, for all the student transportation in town, not just for the Magnet School kids.
Brian Pecora January 27, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Adding 252 students to the Stratford school system would cost far more than the cost of busing students to magnet schools.
tom January 27, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Hello Brian: If that is the case, then before we bus I suggest this: 1. Let's look at the cost of educating a pupil in Stratford to determine if the cost is in or out of line then react accordingly. 2. Let's look at our system to see how its effectiveness rates against some fair, objective measure outside of the educational establishment then respond accordingly. 3. If neither of the above exposes problems, then let's shut down the system completely and subcontract all of our education to Bridgeport who can apparently do better at it than us.


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