New legislation opposed by the New York Association for Pupil Transportation would allow school boards to reduce the number spots on school buses if a lower student ridership pattern arises.
Known in both the state senate and assembly as the School Bus Mandate Relief Act, A6821A/S04434A would give school districts the ability to cut down the number of available seats on school buses if they can show a consistent pattern over a three-year period of students not taking advantage of the service. According to NYAPT Executive Director Peter Mannella, the patterns are not always as clear as suggested.
“This bill unnecessarily will put school boards and school transportation administrators in the position of second-guessing their already lean and efficient transportation routing decisions,” wrote Mannella in a letter to members of the state assembly. “It would allow districts to make decisions on transportation services based on so-called 'patterns' among student riders and would require districts to use historical data and projections and other studies to arrive at such patterns.”
NYAPT’s opposition letter also points out that districts need to be complimented not challenged over their practices concerning school bus service. The true cost savings, according to Mannella, come from “smart and prudent stop selection, sound parent relations and ever-evolving routing decisions to avoid having additional buses on the road.”
“School transportation is the first place that school leaders turn when there is a need to cut back on expenses...This bill will not contain any new costs and will not relieve any mandates. If this bill would save money and result in more efficiencies, we would be first in line to support its passage,” concluded Mannella in his letter.
The bill has passed the state senate and at this writing resided in the assembly’s education committee.