Jericho Superintendent of Schools Hank Grishman met with residents of the Hamlet East on Tuesday evening, May 9 to discuss the transportation proposition on the ballot as part of the May 16 budget vote. A large number of concerned parents, whose children stand to lose their existing bus service, came to this evening forum to get the facts and get involved. Jericho School Board President Hilari Cohen and Vice President Robert Goldsmith were also present at the meeting.
Grishman explained that after questions about transportation qualification were brought to the attention of the district by a resident of the community, the board of education commissioned a traffic engineer firm to provide accurate and updated measurements necessary to determine busing eligibility. The traffic report revealed that 100 children are currently receiving bus service within the three-quarter mile limit due to the antiquated measurement information. The board worked together to draft a proposition to ensure students will not lose existing transportation.
The board of education approved a resolution for a proposition on transportation at the Jan. 27 board meeting. The proposition, which has been placed on the ballot for the May 16 budget vote and school board election, is written as follows:
Be it resolved, that the Board of Education be authorized and directed to provide transportation to kindergarten through fifth grade students who reside less than three-quarters of a mile but more than 2200 feet from their residences to the school which they legally attend at a cost not to exceed $183,900 and that the tax be levied therefore; and further, that the Board of Education be authorized and directed to provide transportation to all pupils in grades 6-12 who live less than three-quarters of a mile from their residences to school, which change in qualifying distance for transportation services will not result in any additional cost to the district.
"The board decided on a proposition that would provide busing to all students living beyond the 2200 foot limit to guarantee that no youngster will have to cross Jericho Turnpike, Brush Hollow Road or Route 106/107," explained Mr. Goldsmith. "In addition, those children currently receiving bus service within the three-quarter mile limit will not lose the transportation on which their families have come to depend."
Hamlet East resident Stephanie Ginsberg expressed concerns felt by many about losing existing bus service. "It is incomprehensible that I would ever consider allowing my children to walk across Jericho Turnpike," she said. " I cannot imagine the safety and traffic issues that will occur as a result of Hamlet East residents being forced to drive their children to school."
"Only Jericho residents can change the existing laws regarding the distance requirements for busing," emphasized Mrs. Cohen. "Voters in the Jericho School community must pass the transportation proposition so that the children of Hamlet East, and other areas of Jericho, will not lose their existing bus service."
Voting on the transportation proposition will take place on Tuesday May 16 between the hours of 12 noon and 10 p.m. in the Jericho High School gymnasium. The school district budget, the library budget and two uncontested board seats are also on the ballot. Any resident of the district for more than 30 days, with proper identification such as a driver's license, mortgage bill, gas bill is able to vote. Residents needing more information can contact the Office of the Superintendent at 681-4100 ext. 201.