Friday, December 19, 2014

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Judge Temporarily Blocks City's Plans To End School Bus Service On SI

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TWC News: Judge Temporarily Blocks City's Plans To End School Bus Service On SI
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Thousands of Staten Island students will be able to take the bus to school, at least for now.

A state Supreme Court judge signed a restraining order Monday, blocking the city's plans to end bus service for seventh and eighth grade students in the borough.

The order only forces the city to continue providing buses until the hearing, which is scheduled for September 13th, a few days after the start of the school year. After that, service could be eliminated.

Students in other boroughs are only guaranteed busing through the sixth grade; however, the service is provided to more students on Staten Island, because of the lack of public transportation options.

“We had a great day in court. It restored the fairness of the system that my constituents and those on Staten Island cannot and do not have the same transportation system that they do have in the other boroughs,” said Councilman Vincent Ignizio.

Parents say having school bus service for their kids is essential in the borough.

“No crosswalks, No crossing guards, no light or anything, which is very dangerous in the mornings,” said parent Ellen Lemma.

The city's attorneys had tried to argue in court that the safety of kids on the Island is not in peril and that the cuts would save a substantial amount of money.

The Department of Education originally said cutting the service would save up to $3 million. City attorneys now say the plan will save about half that much.

“It's kind of mind boggling at the point that we still have to be in court for them to try and save $1.6 million,” said Councilman James Oddo.

In response to the ruling, City Law released the following statement: "We are disappointed in the ruling and exploring our legal options."

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