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Budget, Education & City Services

Manhattan Borough Board Resolution Supporting School Busing Improvements for Special Education Students

At the monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, October 11, 2012, the Board passed the following resolution by a vote of 37 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, Parents and members of the community have raised serious concerns regarding the oversight of transportation for students with disabilities to and from their schools; and

WHEREAS, Bus routes taking students with disabilities to school are often longer than 120 minutes in each direction, and weave circuitously through as many as three boroughs, making stops at multiple schools and/or residences; and

WHEREAS, These transportation times often exceed individual student mandates per their Individualized Education Programs; and

WHEREAS, These lengthy travel times can lead to students missing valuable instruction time due to the late arrival or early departure of their buses; and

WHEREAS, The large number of individual busing companies makes it difficult for the Office of Pupil Transportation to address and remedy the multitude of service issues and enforce standards; and

WHEREAS, DOE's no-bid contracting process is not competitive and does not encourage accountability and prevention measures through a fair RFP process; and

WHEREAS, Bus drivers and the accompanying staff responsible for the supervision of students with disabilities, including the boarding and de-boarding process, require regular training on the issues specific to special needs students; and

WHEREAS, The Chancellor's Regulation on Pupil Transportation has not been revised since September 5, 2000; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five strongly urges DOE to re-assess its busing protocol with regard to students with disabilities and to specifically explore the following measures:

1)      Review and revise the Chancellor's Regulation on Pupil Transportation to include:

a.       An appropriate accountability structure;

b.      Mechanisms to review busing operations, revise protocol and routes as needed, and capture parent feedback;

c.       Ensure that all bus staff receive annual training on working with students with disabilities.

2)      Revise the RFP issued for bus companies to include:

a.       A requirement that all buses that transport special need students be equipped with cameras, GPS and climate control systems;

b.      Selection of contractor subjected to bidding process

c.       A requirement that all bus company employees participate in annual training.  

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