The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Suburban Maryland:
Schoolchildren, No School Bus

May 1, 2023

Parents protested and spoke out against a plan to reduce school bus service in Howard County, Maryland, a suburb between Baltimore and Washington. Around 3,500 more students will have to walk to school in the district’s new plan, regardless of the fact many sidewalks are narrow or missing and traffic is heavy. Rather than automatically being enrolled for school bus service, families now will have to sign up for it.

Public school bus service in the county has long been contracted out to private companies. But with suburban economic development, school bus contracting has become a competitive and exploitative business—a more than 50-million-dollar market in the county now. Bigger contractors bid to take over smaller contractors’ routes. The number of contractors went from nearly 60 in the 1980s to under two dozen today.

If the county really wanted to save money, it would run the school buses publicly, instead of handing out subsidies to for-profit contractors while shaving down on service.