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Education Council Consortium
ECC Statement for March for Transit Equity
As our previous Chancellor Meisha Porter spoke of how to welcome students back to public school buildings in her Summer Rising and Homecoming Plan, the Office of Pupil Transportation failed miserably in their responsibility to transport our students in temporary housing, students with disabilities, students attending nonpublic schools and High School students who needed Metrocards–despite being allocated $1.6 billion dollars. This is 3 times the amount spent on Pupil Transportation pre-COVID.
As of March 18, we still have thousands of students unable to participate in Special Education Recovery Services(SERS) because there is still no transportation in place to transport students back home from these after school programs. We still have hundreds of thousands of students with IEPs and/or living in temporary housing left without consistent bus routes and transportation supports. We still have hundreds of families still waiting for reimbursement for travel costs accrued back in July during Summer Rising and bussing was still not in place. And in spite of an additional contract for $9 million to OPT to increase staffing at their call center, thousands of families still have experienced long hold times to report a bus that did not show or a school to report a bus route left unserviced.
Families and transit advocates like Parents to Improve Student Transportation(PIST) have been demanding oversight and accountability from the Office of Pupil Transportation for years. The need for answers is more pronounced than it has ever been. We, the Education Council Consortium, stand in solidarity and outrage alongside our fellow education advocates to demand parents be given the rights allotted to them by the Chancellor Regulations A-801 and that all students eligible for pupil transportation supports be treated with respect and dignity, and we demand oversight and accountability from the Office Of Pupil Transportation.