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Letter from the Chancellor: December 21st, 2012

posted Dec 21, 2012, 7:08 PM by Matthew Campbell   [ updated Dec 21, 2012, 7:08 PM ]
December 21, 2012


Dear Parent or Guardian,

We are writing to inform you of the possibility of a disruption in yellow bus service after the holidays, which may impact your child.

The New York City Department of Education is issuing a bid to secure new yellow bus contracts to transport children for the 2013-2014 school year. Our current contracts for these bus services will expire at the end of June 2013 and it is important that we move forward now to secure new contracts.

The bus drivers’ and escorts’ union has told us that if the bid does not include an Employee Protection Provision—a measure which guarantees their workers civil service-type seniority rights in the event that their current employers do not win the new bid—they may strike. This would result in severe disruptions, or possibly complete discontinuance, of yellow bus service.

We are deeply concerned about the impact of a strike on our students and families and we want you to be prepared in the event one occurs.

In the event that a strike occurs, the following protocols will take effect for families of students who currently receive yellow bus service:

  • All students who currently receive yellow bus service may receive a MetroCard. MetroCards are being made available at schools and should be requested through the school’s general office. We have already informed the Transit Authority that it may need to accommodate additional riders.

  • Parents of pre-school and school-age children with IEPs requiring transportation from their home directly to their school, as well as parents of general education children in grades K-2, may also request a MetroCard for the parent or guardian to act as the child’s escort to school.

  • As an alternative to MetroCards for parents whose children receive busing from their home, or students in grades K-6 receiving yellow bus service from a school bus stop who live in areas where public transportation between home and school is not readily available, we are offering reimbursement for actual transportation costs. Parents who drive their children to school will be reimbursed at a rate of 55 cents per mile. Parents who use a taxi or car service to transport their child to school will be reimbursed for the trip upon completion of reimbursement forms that include a receipt for provided services. Requests for reimbursements should be made one week at a time on forms that will be provided in schools’ general offices. The forms will ask you to indicate on which school days alternative transportation was taken and whether it was taken for both the morning and afternoon commute. Reimbursement forms as well as receipts should be sent to the Transportation Reimbursement Unit at 44-36 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY 11101. We encourage families driving or using car services to carpool with their neighbors whenever possible.

  • Field trips using yellow bus service will be cancelled if there is a bus service disruption. After school programs will remain open, but no busing will be provided.

It is important that every parent or guardian evaluate the needs of his or her child in terms of making the best arrangements to transport their child to school. Students who arrive to school late because of disruptions to yellow bus service will be excused for up to two hours. Children who are unable to attend school because of disruptions to yellow bus service will be marked absent with an explanation code that will ensure their attendance record is not negatively impacted.

We regret the possibility of what could be a major disturbance in the lives of students and their families. We continue to hope that the bus drivers’ and escorts’ union will not take such action in response to what is the proper, legal course of action for the Department of Education to take on behalf of our students and the City’s taxpayers.

Any information we have about disruptions to bus service will be posted on our web site at schools.nyc.gov. We urge parents and guardians whose children rely on yellow bus service to regularly check the web site for updates. The information will also be provided to the media and to 311.

If you have further questions about this matter, please call our Pupil Transportation Hotline at 718-392-8855. Sincerely,

Dennis M. Walcott Chancellor 

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Matthew Campbell,
Dec 21, 2012, 7:08 PM
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