2012-04-06 / Community

Yellow Buses Coming Back For Grades 7, 8

By Howard Schwach


On the first day of school in September of 2010, parents whose students had lost yellow bus transportation lined Beach Channel Drive outside of the Scholars’ Academy to pick up their students. On the first day of school in September of 2010, parents whose students had lost yellow bus transportation lined Beach Channel Drive outside of the Scholars’ Academy to pick up their students. Seventh- and eighth-grade students in Rockaway middle schools will once again get yellow school bus service to and from their schools, thanks to a new law passed recently by both the Assembly and State Senate.

The service was abruptly ended at the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year by the Department of Education as a cost-saving measure.

City Councilman Eric Ulrich and others in the Council brought suit in both Staten Island and Queens, arguing that the service was a safety issue in many of the city’s communities that did not have adequate public transportation.

A Staten Island court ruled that the city had to restore the service, but the city appealed and won a ruling at the appellate level that the DOE had the right to set service limits for school buses.

Now, however, Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder and State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. introduced bills that would allow the DOE to utilize yellow buses in those areas where finding transportation alternatives is a hardship.

“In southern Queens and Rockaway, transportation options are severely limited,” said Goldfeder. “Our students need the transportation in order to attend the schools of their choice.”

Goldfeder says that for 18 years, variances had been granted to more than 70 schools, including several Rockaway schools.

Those variances were lifted in September of 2009, forcing local students to use MTA buses and those who live more than a mile from their schools were provided with transportation passes. Others had to pay the full fare.

The new law, which will take effect at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, will restore those yellow buses.

The new law will impact students who attend the Scholars’ Academy in Rockaway Park, as well as those students who live in Breezy Point and attend local public and parochial schools.

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