The New York State Senate has passed legislation, sponsored by Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District), that would allow school districts to provide transportation for children who live below the transportation mileage limit, but whose parents are non-ambulatory.
Under current law, school districts can choose to provide transportation for children who live within distances less than those required by law (2 miles for grades K-8, 3 miles in grades 9-12), so long as it is done equally in all cases. This does not allow for an exception for a child who lives under the designated transportation line under any circumstances.
Senator Fuschillo’s legislation would remedy this by giving school districts the authority to adopt a policy to provide transportation on a case by case situation. The school district would have to approve a resolution determining that the child is eligible for transportation based on the fact that his or her parent is physically unable to provide their own transportation or by walking with them to school.
Merrick resident Amy Mogel is non-ambulatory and is often physically unable to drive or walk her son, Max, to school. Because the Mogels reside two houses away from the district’s transportation cut off line, they were disqualified from receiving busing to the school.
"Here is an instance where a mother has a very serious condition that prevents her from bringing her child to school, but since her home is a few feet on the wrong side of a school district map line, her son is ineligible for transportation," Senator Fuschillo said. "In unique situations such as this one, school districts should be allowed to make a decision on a case by case circumstance, and this legislation would allow them to do just that."
"David, Max and I are thrilled that this bill passed in the New York Senate. We hope that it is passed in the Assembly and on to the Governor before the end of this session. The passing of this legislation in the Senate has tremendous meaning for us. As a disabled parent I am always concerned about how my child will get to and from school when I am having difficulty walking. For the past several years we have had to rely on our good friends to pick up where the law left off. With the passage of this legislation, chronically disabled parents all over New York State would have the opportunity to receive busing from their respective school districts for their nondisabled child. This is the right response. Children should be able to get to school regardless of their parent's physical impairments. It is, and should be, all about the children," said Mrs. Mogel.
This legislation is also supported by the New York State Council of School Superintendents (NYCOSS). In a position statement on the legislation, NYCOSS announced that it was "pleased to support this bill that would provide a flexible and manageable procedure to enable school districts to assist families facing a unique problem."
The legislation is awaiting approval by the Assembly.
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