Categorized | Education, General

Bus Service for Non-Public School Children

Posted on 15 March 2013 by Community Voice NY

Daily News

Politics

Officials oppose state Senate yeshiva bus plan that could open floodgates to hundreds of millions of dollars more in city busing costs

A city memo obtained by the News urges lawmakers to reject plan that requires city buses transporting after-hour students, mostly from yeshivas, to drop them off within 600 feet of their homes. This plan could inspire other parents to seek special treatment, officials say.

By Glenn Blain AND Kenneth Lovett / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Published: Friday, March 15, 2013, 1:52 AM

Updated: Friday, March 15, 2013, 2:30 AM

State Senate Education Chairman John Flanagan said ‘something’ will be worked out over issue of after-hours busing for students.

State lawmakers are pushing to enhance bus service for yeshivas in a way city officials fear could wind up costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of extra dollars, sources said.

A measure that is wrapped into state budget talks and is being promoted heavily by Senate Republicans would require the city to offer busing for all private students in classes taught after 4 p.m. Most of those students attend yeshivas.

The plan also includes a provision that would require city buses transporting after-hour students to drop them off within 600 feet of home, a city source said.

Current regulations require city buses to stop within a half-mile for students in second grade or younger, and within a mile for those between third and sixth grades.

A city memo obtained by the Daily News urges lawmakers to reject the proposal.Being required to stop within 600 feet of a child’s home, the memo says, “would require twice as many stops as current … practice, at additional cost.”

City officials are worried that providing a superior service for yeshiva students will lead parents of students at public schools, charter schools and other private schools to clamor for equal treatment, sources said.

City spokesman Mark Botnick declined to comment.

State Senate education committee chairman John Flanagan (R-Suffolk) said that while the city has expressed concerns, “I believe, ultimately, that we will be able to work something out.”The Suffolk County Republican said the measure is being pushed by Sens. Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn), Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn) and Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-S.I.). Flanagan added that he believes the cost to the city of implementing the provision would be “minimal.”

But a city source estimated the price tag could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars if parents of other schoolchildren raise complaints.

The state and city split the cost of busing kids to private schools during the regular school day.

But last year, over the objections of Mayor Bloomberg, the Senate GOP successfully pushed to require city bus service for students at private schools that offer classes until at least 5 p.m.

Thirty schools took advantage — 29 Yeshivas and one charter school — for a total cost increase that was capped at $3 million.

klovett@nydailynews.com

 

 

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