Saturday, August 08, 2009

Charters Get Favoritism for Busing (and other things too)

Lisa Donlan to NYC Educaiton News in response to Haimson on charter schools and busing

Great research, as usual, Leonie.

This reminds me that I never did get an answer to my question (I had asked the Office of Charters Schools) whether or not the Charters must send teachers to correct tests like all of our "other public" schools.

Schools in my district gave up significant "classroom resources" to send teachers to correct the state exams last year.

One struggling elementary school that serves a high percentage of special needs kids and where more than 96% of students qualify for Title One, complained that they had to send classroom teachers for the equivalent of more than a month of teaching days to correct the tests.
One high needs, struggling middle school sent their Special Ed and ELL staff to correct the ELA exams so as to not lose ground preparing for the Math tests, leaving the most vulnerable students without their mandated supports, to name a few examples.

All so DoE could claim cuts to the central budget- which like many other vaunted savings, were expenses they passed on to the schools.

Funny how some animals are more equal than others.

Charters are "public" schools when it is convenient for DoE to claim them as such (as we have witnessed in those siting hearings where they pit charter vs public school parents against each other), and then are not public schools- like in the transportation clause where they are akin to non public schools,- when it suits them.

Lisa Donlan

Leonie Haimson Post on charters and busing
To: nyceducationnews@
Date: Sat, 8 Aug 2009 18:15:31 -0400
Subject: [nyceducationnews] preferential services for Charter schools re busing.

We believe that charter schools probably receive more than the public schools do from taxpayer funds, if one includes all the hidden subsidies that DOE provides, like food, transportation, security, energy, a long list not included in the per pupil amount – which often exceeds by far the actual per student amount that regular public schools receive .

We’ve already discussed how charter school students receive better transportation services from DOE – as do apparently private school students. They also have fewer expensive mandates to fulfill.

Even and apart from their private fundraising, this allows many schools to provide a far superior staffing ratio, smaller classes, longer days and weeks, and improved physical conditions. Especially those that do not pay huge managing fees to a management company – some of which rake off a huge profit off the top.

More specifically, I looked up the DOE transportation guidelines for regular DOE students, charter school students, and NCLB students.

It does appear that charter school students receive preferential services.

According to the DOE, this is because “By law, transportation policies for charter school must be identical to those for non-public schools.” Which then implies, private school students get better transportation services from taxpayer funds than public school students.

Whether or not the state law truly demands this should be researched; it seems highly inequitable to me.

After reading the rules below, as provided by DOE, by law NYC Charter school students get free metro cards and free yellow buses as a matter of right. They are provided w/ free buses as long as though they live w/in the borough and the entire bus route to the school is no longer than five miles.

Public schools students get free metro cards depending on how old they are and how far they live from their schools, and in some cases, half price metro cards. Busing depends on whether the school (or DOE ) decides to provide it, and in no case will buses be provided for students who lives outside the district.

If a regular public school does not provide busing, a parent has first to apply to the school to ask for a bus to be provided; and then the school has to apply to DOE, with absolutely no assurances given than it will be provided.

Two exceptions I see: citywide G and T programs, which are allowed to provide busing to students boroughwide as opposed to solely within the district (but are not obligated to do so.) and NCLB students, who get free full fare metro cards no matter what, and free yellow busing through sixth grade as long as they live at least a mile from the school to which they have transferred.

The rest is straight from the DOE website unless I put in italics.

  1. Charter School Transportation Presentation -- it seems as though charter school students are guaranteed yellow bus routes for gened students w/in the borough, as long as they are within five miles. All students can get metro cards whatever the distance as well..

Transportation to and from school on the yellow bus

Field Trips

Metro cards for students in grades K - 12

Bus routes are limited to a 5 mile length from the farthest stop on the route to the school

General education busing in not provided across borough lines

Special education student routes

There do not seem to be limitations in terms of the no. of students asking for busing or anything else.

Meanwhile, the rules for regular public schools students are far more restrictive and complicated.


It depends on your distance from the school. Anyone less than a ½ mile away is ineligible; or a mile away for older students in terms of metrocards. Whether or not they provide any yellow bus service for any school appears to be discretionary; and if they do only students attending school in the same district can have access , while for charter and non-public students, the distance is w/in the same borough.
There have to be at least eleven students asking for a the bus, and even then the system can appear to say no.
If all of the above criteria are met, students may request yellow bus service at their school. Eligible students will be assigned to a bus stop by the school.” They say that G and T students have the same restrictions as gened students in general, but for the citywide G and T programs, it appears to be similar to the charter school rules, by saying that they must live w/in the borough (rather than w/in the district, as cited for other public students.)

The other exception is for NCLB students, who are treated more liberally: and appear to get full fare metro cards no matter what and free yellow busing until grade 6 – as long as they live more than a mile away from school.
“All students in kindergarten through sixth grade who have accepted transfers from schools judged to be in need of improvement under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Program and who meet the eligibility requirements for free transportation will receive yellow school busing to their new school. All other students enrolled in the NCLB Program, even if they do not meet the eligibility requirements, will receive a student MetroCard that provides free fare on public transportation. Click here for more information on the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.”


Will my child receive transportation?

Yes. Your child will receive transportation. Students who transfer to a different school under the NCLB Public School

Choice program will receive transportation through the final grade of that school. Please refer to the chart below to

understand the NYCDOE transportation guideline for NCLB transfers:

Note: Continued eligibility for General Education transportation is contingent on grade level and distance from the new

school. For example, a Grade 2 student that transfers through the NCLB Public School Choice program and resides

more than ½ mile but less than 1 mile from the new school is eligible for General Education transportation (yellow school

bus). When this student begins Grade 3, he or she would be eligible for a free MetroCard for public transportation.

Special Education students who receive door-to-door transportation in accordance with an Individualized Education

Program (IEP) will continue to receive mandated transportation if they transfer to a different school through the NCLBPublic School Choice program.


Transportation eligibility is determined on the basis of the student's grade level and the distance between the student's residence and school. The table below shows how OPT determines student eligibility. For example:

  • A first-grader who lives 3/4 of a mile from school is eligible for full fare transportation.
  • An eighth-grader who lives one mile from school is not eligible for full fare transportation.




Less than ½ mile

½ mile or more, but less than 1 mile

1 mile or more but less than 1½ miles

1½ miles or more


Not Eligible*

Eligible for Full Fare Transportation


Transportation Not Provided


Not Eligible*

* Students in these categories are not eligible for full fare transportation. These students may receive a half fare student MetroCard good for use on buses only. These half fare MetroCards are provided as a courtesy by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA).

Yellow bus service is provided from designated stops at designated times to and from schools receiving this service. In order for a student to receive yellow bus service, all of the following criteria must be met:

  1. The student must be eligible for full fare transportation as shown in the chart above.
  2. The student's school must have yellow bus service.
  3. The student must be in grades K-6.
  4. The student's residence must be in the same district as the school (if attending a public school) or the same borough (if attending a charter or non-public school).
  5. The bus route must have at least eleven students.
  6. The bus must travel on a route that is no longer than five miles as measured by bus stops.
If all of the above criteria are met, students may request yellow bus service at their school. Eligible students will be assigned to a bus stop by the school.
Please Note: Admission to a gifted and talented program or school does not guarantee a student yellow bus transportation. Eligibility for yellow bus transportation for general education students attending gifted and talented schools and programs is based on the same criteria that apply to public school general education students as indicated above. Students attending one of the three citywide gifted and talented schools (PS 334—The Anderson School, NEST + M and TAG School for Young Scholars) are eligible for busing if they live in the same borough (Manhattan) and the route, as measured by bus stops, is no longer than five miles.

When can a K-2 student receive yellow bus service?
If a K-2 student lives a half mile or more from school, the school is in the same district as the student's residence, the school has yellow bus service and the parent or guardian requests yellow bus service, the K-2 student shall receive yellow bus service.

How do I determine whether my child's school has yellow bus service?
To determine whether or not your child's school has yellow bus service, contact the school. As an alternative, you may contact the Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) directly by dialing 311. When `contacting OPT to determine if a school has yellow bus service, please have the name and address of the school read

What if my child's school does not have yellow bus service?
If your child's school does not have yellow bus service, only your child's school (not parents) may request that service be instituted.

School-based applications for yellow bus service must be received by OPT in the spring of the year before service is required (that is, by May or June for service the following September). Because school bus routes frequently service more than one school, routes must be designed before the start of the school year. It is not possible to implement new bus service for a school after the start of the school year.

Why are transportation policies for charter and non-public schools different than those for public schools?
Transportation policies for non-public schools differ from those for public schools because non-public schools are not part of the Department of Education's geographical district structure. By law, transportation policies for charter school must be identical to those for non-public schools. For more information, please contact your non-public or charter school directly.

1 comment:

Zitmeds said...

[...] will most likely lead to single-minded perception, biased views of all other characters and just as warriorhope mentioned, character [...]