Requires school bus transportation be provided to students in cities having a population of one million or more.
Ayes (49): Addabbo, Alesi, Avella, Bonacic, Breslin, Carlucci, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Dilan, Duane, Espaillat, Farley, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Golden, Griffo, Grisanti, Hannon, Johnson, Kennedy, Klein, Kruger, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Martins, Maziarz, McDonald, Nozzolio, O'Mara, Oppenheimer, Parker, Peralta, Ritchie, Robach, Sampson, Savino, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousin, Valesky, Young, Zeldin
Nays (13): Adams, Ball, Gianaris, Hassell-Thomps, Huntley, Krueger, Montgomery, Perkins, Ranzenhofer, Rivera, Saland, Serrano, Squadron
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to requiring school bus transportation for students in cities having a population of one million or more
PURPOSE: This bill will have the Department of Education of the City of New York provide transportation to all children residing in the City to and from the school they legally attend, who are in need of transportation. Such transportation shall be provided for all children attending grades three through eight who live more than one mile from the school they legally attend and for children attending grades kindergarten through two, and siblings of children attending grades kindergarten through two who attend grades three and five at the same school, who live more than one half mile from the school they legally attend.
JUSTIFICATION: This bill would require the City of New York to provide yellow school bus transportation to be provided for all children attending grades three through eight who live more than one mile from the school they legally attend and for children attending grades kindergarten through two, and siblings of children attending grades kindergarten through two who attend grades three and five at the same school, who live more than one half mile from the school they legally attend.
For example, Staten Island has a severe safety and transportation issue, specifically in the vicinity of our elementary and intermediate schools. This is evident by the by the recent enforcement initiative implemented by the New York City police Department. Patrol Borough Staten Island (PBSI) of the NYPD, has been enforcing the hazardous parking and driving conditions, which endanger our children. The initiative has specifically targeted, double and triple parking, no standing, no parking, blocking crosswalks, and passing stopped school buses.
Currently the Department of Education, Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) assigns Yellow School Bus Service to eligible students based on their home's distance from the school. The current criteria for eligibility are as follows:
Grades K-2 more than .5 miles from their school. Grades 3-5 more than 1 mile from their school. Grades 7-8 not eligible.
OPT also approves variances to otherwise non eligible students. The variances are currently granted as two main headings, Access Variances and Hazardous Variances. The Access Variance is granted if there is not adequate public transportation from the student's home to their school. The Hazardous Variances are granted if the student has to walk where there are predominantly no sidewalks and very dangerous roadways, which are very difficult to cross.
The focus for Staten Island students is mainly on the Access Variances. Staten Island Grades K-8 students do not have the same access to, school via public transportation, as the other four boroughs of NYS. Staten Island is the largest geographical school district in NYS. District 31 has 57,469 students enrolled in grades K-8, second only to District 2 in Manhattan, which is heavily populated multiple trains and bus options, unlike District 31.
This legislation would allow students in grade 7 and 8 yellow bus service equal to that of current grade 6 eligibility, which require a residence distance of more. This would be a District 31 wide Access Variance for all 7th and 8th grade students due to lack of adequate public transportation.
Grade K-2 are eligible for yellow bus service when they live more than .5 miles away from school, yet, siblings in grades 3-5 are not eligible for the yellow bus service. Currently parents with children in different grades do not utilize the bus service because the older child is not eligible. The Sibling Variance will help to improve safety by minimizing personal automobiles used as transportation to school.
According to a 2006 study conducted by the NYC Department of City Planning, Staten Island's population will grow to 552,000 by 2030 from today's 483,000. This reflects a 24.4% growth from 2000. Staten Island is projected to see a growth of 8% of grades K-8 students, during this same time period. It is anticipated that Staten Island will represent 6.5% of NYC's population, but will have 16% of NYC's registered vehicles. This will result in even more hazardous conditions near Staten Island schools. Not only will expanded yellow school bus service improve student access to their respective school, it will help reduce traffic congestion by removing excess private vehicles from our roads. A National School Transportation Association study revealed that approximately 800 student fatalities occur yearly in private vehicles in route to school, compared to 20 student fatalities yearly that occur when yellow buses are used to travel to school.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2010: S.7059 - Referred to Education/A.10124 - Referred to Education.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Undetermined.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2328--A 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 18, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sens. LANZA, ADDABBO, AVELLA, SAVINO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Education -- reported favorably from said committee and committed to the Committee on Finance -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to requiring school bus transportation for students in cities having a population of one million or more THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 3635 of the education law is amended by adding a new paragraph c-1 to read as follows: C-1. NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION, THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OF EVERY CITY HAVING A POPULATION OF ONE MILLION OR MORE SHALL PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION TO ALL CHILDREN RESIDING WITHIN SUCH CITY TO AND FROM THE SCHOOL THEY LEGALLY ATTEND, WHO ARE IN NEED OF SUCH TRANSPORTA- TION. SUCH TRANSPORTATION SHALL BE PROVIDED FOR ALL CHILDREN ATTENDING GRADES THREE THROUGH EIGHT WHO LIVE MORE THAN ONE MILE FROM THE SCHOOL THEY LEGALLY ATTEND AND FOR CHILDREN ATTENDING GRADES KINDERGARTEN THROUGH TWO, AND SIBLINGS OF CHILDREN ATTENDING GRADES KINDERGARTEN THROUGH TWO WHO ATTEND GRADES THREE THROUGH FIVE AT THE SAME SCHOOL, WHO LIVE MORE THAN ONE HALF MILE FROM THE SCHOOL THEY LEGALLY ATTEND. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD04789-04-1