Parents must opt-in for school bus rides – QNS.com

Parents must opt-in for school bus rides

Thousands of Queens public school students are facing the loss of their school bus ride if their parents fail to submit an opt-in form by October 6 for the school bus program.
&#8220The form is to be filled out by those parents whose children are in general education and are eligible for yellow bus service,” said Margie Feinberg, spokesperson for the Department of Education (DOE). &#8220In the past, we routed buses by eligibility. We want to improve upon our efficiencies by providing service to those who use it.”
The forms will give the DOE a better idea of how many students utilize the bus service to allow them to make the program more efficient.
However, the new initiative has had a rocky start, as only 30 percent of students had returned the forms by last June. It is unlikely that number has increased much despite the fact that school principals were required to re-issue the forms in the beginning of the current school year. The deadline for the forms has already been pushed back two weeks.
Parents of students have only two ways to submit the form - return the form brought home by students, or go online at https://www.opt-osfns.org/opt/ and submit it electronically. The DOE is currently trying to get the word out through programs which keep contact with parents throughout the school year.
&#8220The Office of Pupil Transportation worked with schools which normally talk about bus service with parents,” Feinberg said. &#8220Also, we worked with our Parent Engagement Office to notify parents and the Child Education Centers.”
Of great concern to many people is that if the form is not filled out by the October 6 deadline, children will be given a Metro Card and forced to utilize public transportation for the remainder of the school year.
&#8220If a parent does not fill out the form, then the child will receive a Metro Card,” Feinberg said. &#8220Parents can reapply for bus service for next year.”

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