City Hall – Council Member Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) criticized a proposal to eliminate transportation services to nonpublic school students saying that the long-term costs to the Department of Education would far outweigh any short-term cost benefits.
“The bottom line is that students in nonpublic schools save the City hundreds of millions of dollars each year,” said Councilman Felder. “We should be finding more ways to help these students and to keep these schools open, because when they close, the burden shifts directly to the City.”
The proposal to eliminate transportation services for nonpublic schools is part of the New York City Independent Budget Office’s annual “Budget Options for New York City” report, which outlines potential cost savings to the City. As acknowledged by the report, such a cut would require a change in state law.
Paul Lynch of the Archdiocese of New York, shared Felder’s sentiments: “The Department of Education has been so wonderful in working with us to ensure equitable treatment in transportation. Anyone wishing to do any harm to that relationship would also be doing harm to the City and children in nonpublic schools.”
Transportation Committee Chair John Liu (D-Queens) stated: “The City assumes responsibility for transporting kids to and from school. That should not be denied of families who choose to send their children to private schools at their own expense. We are still a City that insists on ensuring every kid gets to and from school, and gets to and from school safely.”
Felder added that the city’s hopes for short-term gains are blinding it to the long-term costs. The average cost to educate each public school student is over $15,000. By eliminating busing for nonpublic school students, parents of these children will be inclined to send their children to public schools, the cost of which far outweighs the cost of transportation services.
(YWN Desk – NYC)