“For the upcoming school year, officials in East Ramapo have made several changes in how the district’s 33,500 students get to class each day.
Part of the changes include laying off its bus drivers, outsourcing the routes and increasing transportation for private schools on district holidays.
In late March, the school board voted to dissolve its transportation operations – which consisted of 17 employees and 18 vehicles, a move that, according to the proposed 2018-19 budget, will lead to a $1.7 million reduction in busing costs.
The bulk of student transportation in East Ramapo is already being handled by private bus carriers, with more than $30 million earmarked for regular routes, special needs students transports, field trips and athletics.
And, by realigning the public school calendar with the non-public school one, the district does not anticipate that providing up to four days of busing for the private school population — which is around 25,000 children — will result in additional transportation expenses, district officials said in documents submitted last month to the state Education Department.
After New York City, East Ramapo’s transportation needs are the largest in the state, a system the district’s state-appointed monitors have said they’ve been looking at to examine how efficiently it runs and find ways to reduce costs.
Over the last decade, transportation spending in East Ramapo has skyrocketed to more than double – or triple, in some cases – the average statewide increase during the same time period, according to monitors’ reports.
The 2018-19 $272 million school budget, which goes before voters on May 15, calls for a 0.14 percent increase in transportation costs, from $32.9 million to $33 million.”
Read the complete Journal News coverage of the budget here.