School bus dispute on Long Island

June 23, 2009 2:59:50 PM PDT
Some parents on Long Island are angry about changes in the requirements for their children to ride the bus. They are angry, even though they voted for it.

Some parents say they didn't understand what they were voting for.

Now, some are demanding a re-vote, saying people didn't know what was at stake when they voted yes on proposition two. The measure took bus service away from about 1,000 elementary-age students.

James, Shawn and Mark Napoli are triplets who will be heading to kindergarten in the fall. But because they live just on the border of 3/4 of a mile from their school, there will be no bus for them as part of a new route and budget cut.

"Allow me to pay $56 more or $100 dollars more if I want to choose to get my child on a bus," Colleen Napoli said.

But it's not an option to buy your own bus service. Students from all six elementary schools in the district have new regulations this fall when it comes to who gets picked up and who doesn't.

This past year, students within a half mile had to walk or get their own ride. Now, it's been extended to 3/4 of a mile.

"A lot of people thought if you voted yes, it meant the busing," Napoli said. "And proposition two was yes across the board, not realizing what it truly entailed."

The Board of Education says make no mistake, proposition two flyers went out in the mail, and it clearly stated on the ballot that it would save taxpayers as a whole about $800,000 a year, or $56.

But some parents say it wasn't as cut-and-dry, and people who voted yes for the budget didn't realize they were also voting yes for decreased bus service.

"It adds an hour to their day," parent Ira Weisberg said. "Half hour in the morning, half hour at night. It's just too much."

A member of the Board of Education says the new bus route wasn't passed with an overwhelming majority, but by just 300 votes out of several thousand. But there will not be a revote until next year's budget.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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