“The state has denied a request by a group of private school parents to temporarily reverse a new transportation policy that went into effect last week in the Ramapo Central school district.
Believing the district hadn’t explored all options before making a cut that affects hundreds of children, the parents asked for a stay on the changes until state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia ruleson an appeal that they filed on the new busing plan.
On Friday afternoon, Elia decided against granting the request to parents, according to a state education department spokesman. The appeal is still being reviewed, he said.
The district now accommodates one arrival and one dismissal for each private school, which is how transportation is scheduled for the 4,800 children attending one of the district’s seven public schools. Previously, the district offered staggered morning and afternoon routes to non-public schools, but looked to cut costs after seeing an increased number of students requesting busing in recent years.
Late Friday afternoon, Andrea Jaffe, one of nearly 100 parents involved with the appeal effort, said, “This development is not a setback. We are confident that once we have a chance to fully respond to the District’s Appeal presentation, and place before the Commissioner the full impact of the unlawful discontinuation of mandated services to our community’s students, she will grant our appeal and reject the false arguments they raised in their defense. We will now put all of our focus and energy into preparing that response.”
Ramapo Central Deputy Superintendent Steven Walker said the district “is pleased” with the commissioner’s decision.
“It has been and continues to be the position of the school district that our bus transportation services are fully consistent with the education law and regulations,” Walker said. “We provide bus transportation services to resident students on an equal basis, no matter if they attend a public school, a private/non-sectarian school or a non-public school, regardless of its religious denomination.”
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