LANSING, Mich., March 23, 2023 — State Rep. Betsy Coffia (D-Traverse City) introduced House Bill 4335 this week to address the need for equitable funding for rural school transportation on a tiered per-pupil, per-mile basis.

“Unfortunately, current funding models for school transportation do not account for the longer distances school buses in rural communities must travel in order to pick up and drop off students,” Coffia said. “Rural school districts often face greater fuel costs and vehicle depreciation costs than more highly populated and dense school districts, and funding is often pulled from classrooms to meet these needs. This bill is an opportunity to address a longstanding need to properly fund rural school transportation so that more school funding can stay in the classroom, go toward school mental health counselors, and to put our students in a better position to succeed.”

HB 4335 received bipartisan co-sponsorship before being referred to the House Committee on Appropriations. The following day, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on School Aid and Education held a preliminary hearing on equitable rural school transportation as they prepare to craft the state’s School Aid budget for fiscal year 2023-24. 

“Thank you to Chair Weiss for taking up this important matter, and to my colleagues for bipartisan co-sponsorship. I am hopeful this measure can address the high cost of rural school busing and bring much needed dollars to expand classroom resources and mental health support for our students.”