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Provide Low-Income High School Students with Free Transportation to School

This petition had 77 supporters

Students in low income households often don’t have funds to pay for public transportation to get to school, resulting in missed days, lower performance and ultimately higher dropout rates.

  • In 2015, the CPS Dropout Rate for Economically Disadvantaged Students was 34.1%. 
  • In 77 of the city’s roughly 680 public schools, at least 99 percent of the students qualify as poor or low­-income. The share tops 90 percent in another 388 schools. 
  • In only 50 schools do less than half of students qualify as low­-income. 

We are proposing that students from low income households who are eligible for subsidized lunches should additionally be eligible to receive free transportation to/from school. Increased access to transportation translates to higher attendance. Higher attendance translates to:

  • Higher revenue for CPS schools
  • Higher graduation rates 
  • More post­graduate opportunities 
  • Lower spending on juvenile justice 

There is also a substantial savings potential: 

With a student pool size of 116,652 students in the subsidized lunch program: 

  • Approximated cost of subsidized busing: $27,296,568
  • Approx. Funding for CPS: $116,535,348 
  • Total Increase in Revenue Potential for CPS = ​$89,238,270

This goes beyond students and their families. There's a larger cost to society when students don’t go to school:

  • Male High School Dropouts are 47 times more likely to be incarcerated than their peers of a similar age who graduate from college. 
  • Cook County accounted for a disproportionately large number of juvenile arrests, 64 percent, despite the fact that Cook accounts for only 39 percent of the youth population in Illinois. 
  • From 2013­ - 2014 there were 39, 279 juvenile arrests in Chicago. 
  • In 2013, 53.2% of arrests were for youth under 16. 

The results are proven, via the 2012 Mayor Emanuel CTA Free Fare Pilot Program which looked at a sample of 500 students 100 students per school. Students & Parents signed Transportation Incentive Program(T.I.P) contract. 

Program results:

  • 5% increase in attendance rates among T.I.P. students
  • Estimated 9 more instructional days for T.I.P. students
  • Increased Annual Revenue to CPS per T.I.P. student: $999 

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