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Thursday, September 29, 2022
Home Government Former BOE Prez Feeney: School Busing Won't Help Pedestrian Safety Concerns

Former BOE Prez Feeney: School Busing Won’t Help Pedestrian Safety Concerns

With demands for something to be done about pedestrian safety in Rye City reaching a crescendo, some have suggested the city and Board of Education look at re-establishing school busing. Today former BOE President Steve Feeney provides the history regarding school busing in Rye and explains why it is not an answer for pedestrian safety improvements.

No Busing 

The minimal amount of past busing to/from the elementary schools (never to RMS/RHS) provided by the Rye City School District was more generous than required by NYS regulation (various distance/miles from school cut points). After conducting ridership surveys that yielded statistics that less than 50% of the families eligible for in-District busing actually placed their children on the buses, the Rye BOE eliminated busing about fifteen years ago (while I was a member of the Rye City School District Board of Education) having concluded busing to be a waste of taxpayer money. In two successive years in-District busing was eliminated followed by the cancellation of out-of-District busing (to private schools). Busing of special education students to out-of-District programs is required by NY State law/regulation and has been/continues to be provided by the District.

Also, while somewhat efficient in getting the children to school in the mornings, busing is not effective in conjunction with the afternoon dismissals at the elementary schools due to in-school, after-school clubs or family determined/parent arranged after-school activities (dance, play dates, piano, sports, doctors appointments, haircuts, et-al) requiring children to be picked up at school and delivered to their next activity on a timely basis rather than spending an incremental 15-45 minutes as the bus ran through its neighborhood routes.

Busing in today's environment would cost millions of dollars annually, would inflate the School District budget and would result in an up-tick in the tax rate of 1.5% to 2% in the first year followed by annual inflationary increases thereafter. Rye has been fortunate that the past dollars dedicated to inefficient and ineffective busing programs have been diverted and invested in the classroom in the delivery of educational services rather than on busing services not utilized by Rye's families.

In short, busing is not the answer to Rye's traffic safety challenges. Modification of each individual's behavior and awareness is truly the answer.

-Stephen M. Feeney

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