17 school bus routes restored – QNS.com

17 school bus routes restored

Some parents had another reason to cheer besides sending their children back to school after mid-winter recess as the Department of Education (DOE) announced it restored 17 of the 116 school bus routes cut during the end of January.
The 17 bus routes that resumed on Monday, February 26 were selected from 35 emergency bus routes that were added after the cuts began, according to DOE spokesperson Marge Feinberg.
Senator John Sabini, who is a member of the Education Committee, said he believes that nine of the 17 restored bus routes are located in Queens with six located in School District 24, which is made up of parts of Jackson Heights, Corona and Elmhurst, and one each in School Districts 25, 26 and 30, respectively.
“This borough and my district bore the brunt of this scheme to cut bus routes, and it’s about time there was some equity applied to the situation,” Sabini said, declaring the restored routes a victory. “Now, let’s also look at the other 99 routes that were cut across the city and check whether they might be better off restored as well.”
However, officials at the DOE did not confirm that nine of the re-established routes were located in Queens as of press time.
Meanwhile, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum has also called on the DOE to completely reverse the routing changes and test out smaller alterations during warmer weather and with ample notice to parents and kids.
When asked if the DOE would continue to consider if more or fewer buses were needed, Feinberg said that the school system would provide bus service for new students, who are eligible and in need of the service.
“The bus routing system is dependant on students,” she said.
Among the restored routes is the bus that takes fourth-grader Peter Vecchio of Whitestone to and from I.S. 250 in Flushing.
A few days after Vecchio lost service, his mom Denise, and several other parents blasted the school system and were given temporary transportation for their children to school. Since then, the parents have wondered if one day the bus simply would not show.
“It’s very frustrating. Every day we think, ‘Hopefully the bus will show up,’” Denise Vecchio said, before being told that her son’s bus is one of the 17 re-incorporated into the routing plan.
Feinberg said that all parents who called into the Office of Pupils’ Transportation (OPT), the transportation system for the City’s school system, were issued claims for a variance, and the DOE would let parents who filed for a variance know by phone that their childrens’ bus routes had been restored. However, Vecchio said she filed for a variance and had received no notification as of Monday, February 26 that her son’s bus would be permanent.
“In a way I still don’t know for sure. But as long as it keeps coming, then it’s good for us,” she said.

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