>You make it sound like $20-40 million is a lot. >The $20 million (estimated, projected) savings -- could >be more or less -- is only 2% of the transportation >budget:
If you were the CEO, and I heard you talk this way, I would sell my shares. $20-$40 million PER YEAR, over decades, is a lot. One real question is not what percent this is of the transportation budget, but what would it cost to save this money. If the NYC Dept. of Public Education ("DOPE") could spend, say, $5 million per year in order to save $40 million, they should do it.
Here is another real question: what could your school system do with a spare $40 million per year? Even here, in The Big Apple, $40 million can buy a lot of cat litter.
The problem, as so beautifully demonstrated by you, is that this kind of thinking (i.e., spend money to save money), so commonplace in profit driven organizations, is utterly alien to the DOPE. With this kind of mind set, do you really imagine that there is no other waste in the NYC public school system? (Boy, do I have a bridge to sell you!)
Furthermore, please let me remind you that one of my major points is that we, as a nation, already pour a huge part of our wealth into public education. It is possible for $20 million to be 2% of the transportation budget only because NYC spends $1 BBBillion doing nothing but busing children around. One BBBillion dollars is not small potatoes in anybody's book, unless your book (i.e., your books of account) carries an operating budget of nearly $16 BBBillion per year, or about 30% of the entire operating budget of the City of New York.
>And this sounds like it was one of the areas where the >most savings was possible -- otherwise, presumably, the >consultants would have highlighted some other category >of spending?
Based on this one article, we cannot know what else the consultants may or may not have highlighted. This item made the news because it directly touches upon the lives of nearly one million school children in NYC.
Because of the consultants' findings, the DOPE has been going through a bus registration process. In other words, if you can believe this, the DOPE has been contracting for buses, for years, based on SCHOOL registration figures rather than BUS registration figures. I.e., in all these years, the DOPE never bothered to actually ask anyone if he needs or wants a bus. I never really thought about this before, but this explains why for years I have seen nearly empty school buses driving up and down the streets of my NYC neighborhood.