Mamaroneck school trustees plan to have about a quarter of the non-public school students who ride district buses to and from school to use public transportation at the district's expense instead.
Parents of parochial and private schoolers are strongly opposed. Parents who want transportation to non-public schools must make the request every year by April 1.
District officials have issued a fact sheet explaining the plan and their reasoning:
Three Years in the Works
For the past few years, the District has worked diligently to contain costs without directly impacting students’ educational experience. In looking at all ways to reduce expenses, the Board, beginning in 2012, identified Transportation Services as an area that needed to be examined carefully. Costs for transportation at one time were funded primarily by the State, but the District now pays 95%. A Board Transportation Subcommittee was established to analyze bus routes and determine the feasibility of shifting some student transportation from private, yellow buses, to public alternate routes. Click here for Q&A as background.
Board Considered Multiple Scenarios and Agreed to Limited Reductions in Busing;
Policy Change Impacts a Portion of Our Students Traveling to Private/Parochial Schools
Approximately 100 of the 439 current secondary students we currently transport to private/parochial schools could be impacted by the policy change. The policy change means that some students at 9 out of the 37 private/parochial schools where we currently transport students would be offered transit passes paid for by the District. Click here for the Subcommittee’s Recommendation/ Presentation to the Board at its December 17th, 2013 Board meeting. The Board deliberated over various scenarios and, in the end, agreed to keep all elementary school students traveling to private/parochial schools on yellow buses. The criteria they agreed to for 6th -12th grade students included:
- capping travel time from home to school (or school to home) at 90 minutes;
- allowing only 1 transfer per trip; this means two vehicles could be used, and
- permitting a maximum walking distance in accordance with State limits, which we use for our in-district students -- 2 miles each way for grades 6-8 and 3 miles each way for grades 9-12.
Within the Law
The District and Board worked closely with legal counsel to ensure that the changes reflected in the transportation policy are permitted by law. Like each of the other budgetary reductions necessary in this economic environment, the decision to scale back transportation services was not made lightly. Recognizing the potential impact the policy change will have on families in our community, the District held off as long as it felt it could without changing the transportation policy. For the last several years, the Board has been considering reducing costswherever legally possible, in ways that least affect our core educational programs. All these cuts are difficult and impact our children in some way.
One of Many Reductions to be Made in This Year’s Budget
The Board has continued to look at all budgetary expenses during ongoing times of economic challenge. In the past few years, the District has worked extraordinarily hard at limiting budget growth. Our budgets over the past two years alone have reflected more than $2 million dollars in reductions. And, the Superintendent has indicated that some $2 million in additional reductions are yet to come.
Community Engagement and Feedback Solicited
Before reaching its decision to change the transportation policy, the Board held five public meetings in which the topic was discussed, and public comment was heard. Board members also met independently with private school parent representatives to engage in conversation about the criteria by which yellow bus elimination would be determined.
E-mail the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments.