August 19, 2008 8:25AM

Make that: “Even if We Bus Kids to Mars…”

In my last post I observed that U.S. public schools would save $100 billion annually if they returned to the staff/student ratio that existed in 1970, and that this would be more than enough to erase the budget crunches districts are facing due to higher fuel prices "unless we start busing kids to Mars."

Well, I'm a tad embarassed to admit I was a little off. Assuming that one could actually drive to other planets, $100 billion would be more than enough to fuel a fleet of three school buses making round trips to Mars every day for the full school year. And the nation's school districts would still have $13 billion in pocket change left over to cover their higher fuel bills here on Earth. (Numbers crunched below the fold).

Average distance to Mars 143,000,000.00 miles
Savings from 1970 student/staff ratio 100,000,000,000.00 dollars
Bus fuel economy 7.50 miles per gallon
Average price of diesel 4.21 dollars per gallon
Could buy this many gallons 23,752,969,121.14 gallons
Could drive this many miles 178,147,268,408.55 miles
Could make this many trips to Mars 1,245.79 trips
School years of one bus service 3.46 years (two trips per day, 180 school days)