11/12/12 Update from Parents to Improve School Transportation
The long term and indirect effects of the hurricane are coming closer to all schools and school buses, as resources are being stretched instead of replenished.
We have confirmed that certain bus companies had many vehicles destroyed by the storm, while others have had difficulty getting enough gas.
Governor Cuomo’s Nov. 7 executive order has opened up the possibility of DOE and OPT using other vehicles (which might or might not be recognizable as, or have the safety features of, real school buses) and, just as scary, of overlooking the hundreds of school bus drivers waiting for work and instead hiring unknown people who may not have been trained or even screened to work with children.
We want everyone to have access to school sooner than later, but it is unacceptable to lower the standards for safety, service and equipment, particularly for children who are already coping with tragedy and instability.
Please read our statement titled STUDENTS DISPLACED BY SANDY DESERVE THE BEST IN BUSING and let us know what you think.
Please call 311 about this, and be ready to sign our upcoming petition insisting on SAFE, FAIR implementation of this order statewide.
Meanwhile here is a round up of info about school transportation after Sandy:
1. See section titled Transportation for students at relocated schools at http://schools.nyc.gov/Home/InOurSchoolsToday/2012-2013/cancellations.htm
2. If you click Here are some frequently asked questions., you will get a long document making many claims about how DOE is meeting student needs after Sandy damage.
See the sections on School Transportation and Special Education Services.
Note what they say about siblings with and without IEPs riding same bus (finally!) and also how they expect older students without metrocards to find and pay their own way to an unfamiliar location.
3. See NY1 piece referencing the shortage of buses in the context of other school confusion, thanks to Class Size Matters, at http://www.ny1.com/content/education/171990/ny1-exclusive--students-in-displaced-schools-can-now-attend-nearest-school-they-can-get-to
4. We do not consider this an acceptable solution, but Reimbursement form and instructions for 2 out of 4 daily trips for parents transporting their own children because of Sandy, is available in many languages at http://schools.nyc.gov/Home/InOurSchoolsToday/2012-2013/cancellations.htm#transportation
5. DOE spreadsheet of schools being relocated and the host schools, with times of bus pickups is available at schools.nyc.gov. If you are near one of these sites and can check how it’s going, please tell them about our work, and then tell us what you learn including contact names. Thanks!