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Queens Chronicle

CEC 24 ‘authorizes’ bus rides to PS 229

Motion cites student safety, zero cost

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Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012 12:00 pm

“Just get on the bus.”

That was the advice that Community Education Council 24 on Tuesday voted unanimously to give to parents of children in grades 3 through 6 from the Big Six apartment complex in Woodside.

The city’s Department of Education two years ago eliminated a safety variance that allowed children from the complex to be bused to PS 229, part of a decision to do away with school-wide variances.

Parents have complained the reason waivers were given for more than 40 years — a busy and tangled intersection on Laurel Hill Boulevard that forces walkers to cross in front of an exit ramp from the Brooklyn Queens Expressway — still exists.

Big Six students in grades 3 through 6 now must walk the approximately 0.8 mile to the school or be driven.

Council members acknowledged that they may not have the authority to enforce their vote.

“We were waiting for action from the DOE,” CEC 24 President Nick Comaianni said. “Now we’ve taken action.”

Comaianni said the resolution is strictly a suggestion.

“Ultimately, the decision is up to the parents,” he said. “The driver may refuse. But all he can say is ‘No.’”

Department of Education officials have walked the route that children must take to PS 229, but as yet have not relented on their policy of having no school-wide waivers.

Parents ofstudents can apply for individual waivers for their children.

Students up to grade 2 still can get the bus, which parents say is about half empty.

Tuesday’s resolution by CEC 24 states that restoration of the rides is a safety concern, and that putting the children into empty seats on a bus already coming to the regular bus stop requires no more resources or costs to the Department of Education than already are being allocated now.

Welcome to the discussion.