The State Senate recently passed legislation, sponsored by Senator Andrew Lanza (Senate bill S.2328), which
would require the Department of Education to provide yellow school bus transportation for students in New York City.
Last year, the City cut yellow school bus service to over 4,000 school children. Over two-thirds of the students affected by this decision – nearly 3,000 – live on Staten Island and attend 47 schools.
“The City’s ill-conceived decision to cut bus service to 7th and 8th grade students unfairly targeted and endangered thousands of Staten Island’s students,” said Senator Andrew Lanza. “Our children live further away from school, on average, than any other children in New York City. Staten Island also has fewer public transportation options, sidewalks and traffic signals, leaving our children at greater risk in the absence of bus service. The small savings the City estimated by its action to cut service has not materialized and has always been outweighed by the safety of our children.”
The legislation, carried by Assemblyman Michael Cusick in the Assembly, would require the New York City Department of Education to provide transportation to all children residing in New York City, to and from the school they legally attend, who are in need of transportation. Specifically, transportation will be provided to children in grades three through eight who live more than one mile from school, and to children in grades kindergarten through two, along with their siblings in grades three and five who attend the same school, who live more than one half mile from the school.
“The prospects for solving this problem by lawsuit seem unpromising, nor has Mayor Bloomberg indicated any intention to reverse the decision,” said Senator Andrew Lanza. “Therefore, the only real way to guarantee bus service for Staten Island’s children is to pass our legislation which would require the Department of Education to provide such school bus service.”
Assemblyman Michael Cusick said, “The safety of our children is our highest priority, and enacting this piece of legislation would ensure that young students are safely taken to and from school.”