City may cut some school bus service on SI

May 20, 2010 2:56:29 PM PDT
Some students in New York City may have to find another way to get to school. "I'm livid. I'm very livid. I feel it's putting my child in danger and I'm not ok with it," one parent said.

It's because for many of middle school kids, the bus is the only safe way to school.

That's especially true on Staten Island, where students live very far from their schools.

In Nicolette Farren's case, there is no city bus close to her house.

"I was thinking how am I going to walk to school every day and I'm not going to be able to walk by myself. What if something happens to me?" she said.

Right now, the state only requires the Department of Education to provide busing through the 6th grade.

The Department of Education had been making an exception for the older kids, but now, they say they need to cut buses for seventh and 8th graders "to spare our classrooms from the state's severe budget cuts."

Eliminating the buses for middle school kids would save about 3.4 million dollars at a time when state funding is expected to be cut by 500-million, but for parents it all raises unsettling questions.

"What happens with a sibling? If you have a 6th grader and you have a 7th or 8th grader, what are these parents going to do?" wondered Dina Oswald.

The alternative is also unsettling. Free MetroCards for students, but will they be free if the MTA has its own cutbacks. In all, 70 schools across the city would be affected if this cut goes through.

Forty-seven of them are located on Staten Island. Nearly three thousand students would have to find some other way to get to and from school. "There's just no easy answer, but the safety of the children is not the place to cut," Oswald said.

LINK: Variances to Eligibility Requirements