EDGEMONT, N.Y. – Edgemont schools Superintendent Nancy Taddiken said Tuesday night that the school district is looking at changing its policy regarding transportation of students to out-of-district schools.
According to Taddiken, Edgemont taxpayers pay $6,162 per student for 37 students – nearly $228,000 – to attend various private and parochial schools this year. None of the 37 are special-need students who are placed by the district.
"Soley based on the cost, we started reviewing our transportation policy," Taddiken said. "We have at times given parents reimbursement for bus or train transportation. Residents have asked us to look at this."
Taddiken said it was the cost, as well as the tax levy cap, that were behind the decision to look at using public transportation. "Sustainability is the concern," she said of rising transportation costs.
Taddiken raised several questions for the board, including whether it would consider using public transportation at all, and if so, whether it would just be for upper grades or K-12. She pointed out that there are many considerations, including time spent on the bus, transfers and timing of routes that would get children to school on time. Also, the board would need to look at how much walking would be involved and whether the roads are safe for walkers.
The district is required to provide the transportation, Taddiken said, but it can decide whether it will be by public transportation or contract carrier. The district must provide transportation for students in grades K-8 living more than 2 miles from their school and for students grades nine-12 living more than 3 miles from their schools.
Several parents raised concerns about the safety involved in sending their children to school on public transportation and pointed out that young children might be put in danger if they had to transfer between buses. Other parent said sending children out of district is a parent decision and if the parents don't feel comfortable with the district's plan to transport children, they can opt to find another option.
Taddiken said the discussion would be continued at a future meeting.
Also Tuesday night, the board approved the school calendar for 2012-2013. School will begin Sept. 5, 2012 and end June 21, 2013. Winter recess would run from Dec. 24-Jan. 1, with mid-winter recess running from Feb. 18-22. Spring recess will run March 25-29. Snow days would be made up, in order, on April 1, March 25, 28 and 27.