The Shrewsbury school bus fees are a shameful tax on young families who must use the school buses to comply with State law. The School Bus Tax was unilaterally instituted, (without Town Meeting approval), by the School Administration. It was done in response to a proposition 2-1/2 Operational Override being voted down at the polls. Young families, who have little alternative to busing, must pay an unfunded mandate which is a selective and regressive tax.
The school bus fee is a mandated tax because you must pay it to receive a government service, namely school transportation. It's selective because paying depends on where a family lives. It's regressive because younger families have less earnings, transportation alternatives and discretionary income.
In the present economy, with high unemployment, families are struggling with mortgages, higher real-estate taxes, fuel bills, a $300/year sewer tax increase, increased water taxes, trash taxes, middle school taxes and higher healthcare costs. Furthermore, if a new library, Beal School and Police Station are built, even higher taxes will be required. In a good economy the school bus tax is just plain wrong. Given the present economy, it is shameful.
Each year the Town Administration, the School Administration and the Finance Committee fail to end the school bus tax. They could end the school bus tax, each on their own, or through a cooperative effort. Their failure to act guarantees the inequity will continue. Hopefully, the three boards will rectify this shameful situation in the 2013 budget.
Benjamin W. Tartaglia