ALBANY, N.Y. — In testimony before the State Senate and Assembly fiscal committees on Feb. 2, the New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) called for a renewed focus on school bus safety in New York.
In a statement before the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees, NYAPT Executive Director Peter Mannella said, "the association's members recognize that the state's financial situation is dire and that extraordinary measures may be needed to correct that fact." He cautioned that "some measures might save money but might also compromise safety."
"In transporting 2.3 million children, we understand that we must find new ways to manage the costs associated with the school bus ride. However, we caution our state leaders to avoid steps that could compromise the safety of the children or that would unnecessarily result in increased burdens on parents and school communities. Rather, we urge a discussion of the various cost areas that affect transportation in order to moderate those costs with no impact on safety," Manella said.
In terms of specific provisions in the Executive Budget Proposal, NYAPT:
"We are concerned that this small part of local school budgets is getting this kind of attention," Mannella said. "In reality, school transportation can be costly. But those costs are derived from the demands placed on school buses by the education system itself. We transport 2.3 million children each day, many with special needs, many with custom transportation needs. There is no way that is going to be inexpensive."