The June 27 opinion column by Jacqueline Keating (General Brown fire spotlights excess bus capacity) was the most interesting piece of incorrect information I have read in your paper for some time. It shows how people can claim to inform about a subject and have no idea of the true facts.
The fire at General Brown bus garage destroyed 20 of 23 buses. Three were saved. The school needs no fewer than 16, and the three saved buses to cover all necessary bus routes to transport children to and from school daily. The writer did not, as far as I can tell, know how many routes General Brown school has each day.
Her next incorrect assumption was that she called three extra buses excess. The correct terminology for these buses is spare buses. These buses are used for many different purposes such as to be available when a bus on route has a breakdown while transporting kids. No children can exit a bus until a spare bus arrives to finish a route. A spare bus is needed when a bus is in for repairs or damage from an accident or for any other reason. Spare buses are used when regular buses are taken from a daily route for athletic trips or field trips.
Excess buses? I dont think so.
However, the writer does seem to know the cost of a new bus ($100,000 each). She does not seem to understand the art of depreciation. After eight years, those buses are worth a lot less.
The next misconception she seems to have, is that 15 percent spare buses is excess. In the case of General Brown, this 15 percent amounts to only three buses. I believe that the school transportation department would not consider three buses unnecessary to keep on hand for emergencies.
When someone uses percentages to sway people toward their way of thinking, study the figures carefully. I would rather receive 15 percent of $200 than 15 percent of $20. Percentages can be used to prove any dollar value.
I believe Ms. Keating should apologize to the General Brown school for stating so may disrespectful facts and calling them accurate. I also would expect your paper to apologize for printing such an article and not checking out the true facts first. Be careful next time and not be so quick to print just any incorrect information that comes along.