50 Buses From D49 In Denver For Rally


More than 50 buses from District 49 traveled to the State Capitol Building in Denver on Thursday to protest proposed education budget cuts.

Fellow drivers honked at the buses in both support and annoyance, as the buses circled the Capitol, touting pronouncements like "DRIVING OUR FUTURE," and, more pointedly, "NO CUTS."

The district said prior to the trip that its purpose was to send a message to lawmakers about education funding. A news release sent out Wednesday says the rally, "will bring a very visible reminder to lawmakers, reinforcing the need for state dollars in an effort to bring education to the center of budget discussions." The district expects to lose up to $9 million.

At the capitol, District 49 board president David Martin handed over the keys to all 84 of the district's buses to Senate Majority Leader John Morse, to symbolize the consequences of state cuts to education, which led to a vote eliminating bus service in the district for next school year.

"Quite frankly, as you see on our buses, it's our future, and we're wanting the state and legislators this session to really put our kids first, and put a good product out as far as education in the state of Colorado," Martin said.

An email sent to KKTV 11 News Wednesday afternoon from a concerned viewer said, "sending the buses to Denver will cost money that the district doesn't have."

Martin told 11 News he expects the cost of the round-trip drive to Denver to be $5,850. He says that figure came from the D49 Director of Transportation.

A fact sheet posted on the district's website states that it costs the district $2.81 per mile to run a bus. A trip to Denver and back for 50 buses would cost about $11,000. And that doesn't include the time the buses would spend driving around the building, as their news release states they plan to do. Martin says if the trip cost that much, they wouldn't be doing it.

Martin says that the money for the trip will come from the district's general fund, but it will be replaced. Martin tells 11 News that he's already personally raised $2,500 for this trip.

The district is on Spring Break this week.

The Secretary of State's office tells KKTV 11 News it is legal for the district to spend money on such an event.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 7, 2011 at 09:10 AM
    Yeah, teachers are so selfish that they make what an average Taco Bell manager makes in a year for far more hours, headaches and griping from the general public. How selfish that these people decided to devote their lives to the next generation. I know a TON of people who are quitting all their "altruistic" unselfish jobs to get into those fatcat classrooms out in El Paso county. I bet those teachers are sitting in their mansions looking at us for how stupid we are to pass bond issues. They don't need the money, let's cut their wages like we have the last three years running, and then maybe they'll do a better job. Not having bussing, extra-curriculars, phys ed, or fine arts will probably help the problem too.
  • by MD Location: Canon on Apr 3, 2011 at 04:05 PM
    When you waste money on stupid ideas like this no wonder people in your district refuse to raise taxes. If I was a taxpayer that lived there I sure as heck wouldn't want my taxes rasied so that a bunch of buses could make a wasted trip to the capitol. Someone from the district could have handed over bus keys to the law makers with out all the bells and whilstles. Sometimes you get more results with honey than you do with vinagar.
  • by Jeff Location: C/S on Apr 3, 2011 at 11:45 AM
    D-49 has to service all the families that want to have their ranchettes but are unwilling to pay for the true cost of educating their children. D-49 has to drive all over eastern El Paso to pick up the kids but the same parents are unwilling to vote increases for the schools. The people that live in the high density neighborhoods are subsidizing those living on the five arce lots.
  • by J on Apr 1, 2011 at 09:03 AM
    49 bus driver. Obviously, one of us is incorrect. Please, do not take my word for it, check it out for yourselves.
  • by Freemont on Apr 1, 2011 at 07:34 AM
    It's just money, a point was trying to be made, time will tell if what they did was wise or foolish. Did they all volunteer their time when they drove these buses or were they paid? Imagine all the emissions that were unnecessarily puked into the atmosphere for this stunt. Oh well, good job d49 for making a statement.
  • by oh man Location: Colorado Springs on Mar 31, 2011 at 08:20 PM
    The real news will be when District 49 puts the remaining 51 percent into a decision.
  • by Ed on Mar 31, 2011 at 07:31 PM
    I used to think Harrison District 2 was screwed up but D49 gives a whole new meaning to disorganized corrupt leaders and misleading and misguided stories and rumors to cover their good ole boy system they got going on out east. Maybe instead of just budget cuts the lawmakers up in Denver outta be doing an investigation and full audit of the books and every person who has anything to do with decision making. Come on whistle blowers start stepping forward and fix this mess. Your children will thank you for it.
  • by Oblivious Location: Real Time on Mar 31, 2011 at 03:16 PM
    What are you people complaining about? They won't have services next year and the gas has already been purchased. It is not like they can sell the excess fuel. You can make up expenses all you want but the real time cost can only be estimated. Is it a good idea to send the buses to Denver? I dont know but it sure has generated publicity and kept the issue in the media. One thing is for sure, a friend or a relative of a politician will get the transportation contract and the taxpayer will end up paying more for the same if not worse service.
  • by Anonymous Location: C/S on Mar 31, 2011 at 02:56 PM
    Sorry teacher, you don't get a pass on this one from me. Why is it that America pumps more money into our education than any other country in the world and our students are failing? I think the big failure in our schools is lack of parental involvement, students being passed on to the next grade when they are not ready, and the biggest one, tenure! Teachers should not be kept on if they are not producing successful students. Pay should be adjusted and gauged by the success of an instructors students.
    • reply
      by Carissa on Mar 31, 2011 at 06:54 PM in reply to
      As a teacher in this district, I can tell you that we have tried to hold kids back but parents refuse. If they don't agree, there is nothing we can do. It's very sad. I've been here ten years and have only held back 2 kids. One actually came back and thanked us.
      • reply
        by Byron on Mar 31, 2011 at 07:45 PM in reply to Carissa
        Yeah anonymous, it's never the teachers fault, always always always the parent. Why there isn't a teacher at D49 that shouldn't be there, they have the best of the best, just look at their State scores, lol!!!
    • reply
      by Randy on Mar 31, 2011 at 08:04 PM in reply to
      How exactly is that supposed to happen? You would have to figure out a way to evaluate "success" of teachers and students in the same way. What does adaquate growth look like in an art class or any other classes which aren't evaluated by a standardized system. You can't start adjusting pay without first implementing a valid evaluation system where everyone is judged in the same way and by the same criteria. Unfortunately, I believe this may be a tough nut to crack.
  • by RLC Location: Sterling, Kansas on Mar 31, 2011 at 02:09 PM
    I just can't believe all the expense for this protest. With gas so expensive all this waste just kills my wife and I. We only drive our car twice a week, except for emergencies. To church on Sunday and to town for groceries, once a week. Let them write a letter to support or disagee with what is going on, but not spend all this money. Such a waste.
    • reply
      by Oblivious on Mar 31, 2011 at 03:17 PM in reply to RLC
      Get a John McCain. This aint Kansas or 1947.
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