To be sure, there are many competing opinions about each of the plan proposals, and given the extreme complexity of each proposal, it is very easy to get lost in the weeds. The issues policy makers are trying to balance include lightening transportation costs and student movement while providing access to (and expanding) quality programs.
On the first point, transportation savings are likely to be minimal regardless of which plan is adopted.
There are many plans under consideration, establishing anywhere from 0 to 23 “zones.” The cost savings range from 3.6% of the $80 million budget (less than $3 million) to 26.7% (less than $22 million). Some observers appear to favor a zone model on lower side — either 3, 6, or 9 zones — as opposed to a model on the higher side with either 11 or 23 zones. In essence and in an admittedly simplistic description, the more zones, the less choice and the greater the transportation savings. Similarly, the fewer the zones, the more choice and the less the transportation savings. Whatever the outcome of the issue, these estimated savings, as small as they are, are exaggerated. See a Globe piece here.