The New York Association for Pupil Transportation today called upon the State Legislature to invest more state funding in school transportation and school bus safety.
NYAPT Executive Director, Peter F. Mannella, appeared before the Joint Budget Hearing convened by the Senate Finance Committee and the Assembly Ways and Means Committee to review the Executive Budget Proposal for school aid.
In the formal NYAPT statement, the association called for the Legislature to take the following actions in the final state budget that will be adopted before April 1st:
Continue to Provide Sufficient Funding for School Transportation
NYAPT underscored the importance of continuing Transportation Aid as an “expense-based aid” for which school districts receive a reimbursement for expense outlays in the previous year, with adjustments for wealth and need. The Executive Budget includes such provisions for which NYAPT expressed gratitude and support.
Provide Funding in Support of Transportation Services for Universal Pre-Kindergarten Students
NYAPT requested the Legislature to make funds available to reimburse school districts for the costs of transporting Pre-Kindergarten students to and from Pre-K programs. Under current law, districts are technically allowed to provide such transportation but must do so with no state involvement. Reports from Pre-K advocates indicate that transportation is a necessary element in the success of Pre-K services.
Allow Expenditures for School Bus Monitors to Be Eligible for Transportation Aid Reimbursement
NYAPT requested that the Legislature allow the expenses associated with employing School Bus Monitors or Aides to be eligible for Transportation Aid support. Current law does not provide for such aid to flow for the costs of monitors and aides. NYAPT believes that the state must assist in this expense as districts are considering such monitors for security, bullying prevention and boarding safety.
Increase Funding for the School Bus Driver Training Program to a Level of $500,000 for and Target Increase to Necessary Training
NYAPT is seeking an increase from $400,000 to $500,000 for the School Bus Driver Training Program, which has not seen an increase since it was first authorized in 1997. NYAPT believes the increase is important to allow for development of training for drivers in areas such as Transporting Pre-K Students, Ensuring Security on the School Bus, Transporting Students with Special Needs, and Preventing Bullying on the School Bus.
Provide Funding for School Transportation Security Measures
NYAPT urged the Legislature to consider an appropriation of funding to allow school bus operators to install security fencing, lighting, surveillance devices and cameras in order to help ensure the security of school buses in the state. NYAPT is concerned over instances of vandalism against school buses and about the potential for acts of violence against school buses.
The New York Association for Pupil Transportation seeks Legislative support for these investments as they will result in safer and more effective and efficient transportation for our children.
A copy of the formal NYAPT statement is attached and is also posted to the NYAPT website at www.nyapt.org/advocacy.