Citizens Respond to School's Closure

EDITOR ' S NOTE: The following four letters refer to the Palos Verdes Peninsula school board's decision to close the Margate Intermediate School and reassign its students to the Malaga Cove and Ridgecrest campuses next fall. Trustees adopted revised attendance boundaries last week.

The school board claims it will save from $250,000 to $300,000 next year by closing Margate, but taxpayers and parents of bused children will be footing a larger bill for transportation. Here are the facts, according to my research and calculations:

Palos Verdes Transit vans will be able to carry only 144 out of a possible 600 Margate students who may need to be transported to school. The fare is due for an increase to $1.50 per one-way ride during peak hours, which covers morning and afternoon schedules at school. That adds up to a cost of $555 annually ($3 times 185 school days) for each child--but that's only the beginning.

Rancho Palos Verdes officials told me that the fare covers only 20% of the cost of the van service, with the rest--$3.98 per ride--subsidized by taxpayers. For the children who ride the vans, that comes to $1,149 a day or $212,587 for a 185-day school year. Then add in the $79,920 paid by parents of the 144 students and you have a grand total of $292,507!

Children who ride RTD buses pay $140 annually at current rates, and Laidlaw Transportation's fare this year is $275.

In other words, the savings claimed by the school board are no savings at all! I urge you to pick up your phone and let the board know how you feel.


Palos Verdes Estates

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