Says $50 million in busing costs “should be spent on hiring more teachers” – will propose legislation in Albany that will allow local school districts to share in savings from decreasing transportation costs
BUFFALO, NY (Sept. 20) – Standing in front of North Park Academy on Parkside Avenue in Buffalo, Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs, candidate for the New York State Senate in the 60th District, called for a return to neighborhood and community-based schools in Buffalo. Jacobs outlined a pilot program at North Park Academy, calling his proposal “a viable demonstration project.”
“North Park Academy used to draw children who lived in this neighborhood,” said Jacobs, who served on the Buffalo School Board from 2004-2011. “They walked here and biked here with their parents every day. Now, kids that live in this neighborhood are bused to others schools further away. As we learn more and more about the importance of parent involvement in student success, having our kids going to school closer to where they live and spending less time needlessly sitting on a bus will offer greater opportunity for that interaction.”
Jacobs is proposing that North Park Academy become a demonstration model to return Buffalo back to a neighborhood/community-based school model.
“Currently, 288 children attend North Park Academy and only four (4) kids walk to school, 284 kids ride the bus,” said Jacobs. “Four, out of nearly three hundred? The current Buffalo Public Schools placement model revolves around buses and is not only incredibly flawed, but incredibly costly. Resources that could be utilized to improve education in the City of Buffalo, including hiring more teachers and reducing class sizes, are being wasted on busing.”
Currently, the Buffalo Public Schools bus over 20,000 students daily, at a cost of over $50 million. New York State pays over 85 percent of the costs for that bussing. Jacobs said if elected to the State Senate he will propose legislation that would allow local school districts to share in some of the savings in state transportation funds if they decrease the amount of busing.
“Many students are spending more than two hours on buses every day,” said Jacobs. “How much sense would it make to have our kids learning or playing during those hours instead of sitting on a bus ten hours a week?”
Jacobs also referenced studies showing that when children can walk or bike to school, they are more alert in class and less inclined toward obesity.
“Let’s not forget the benefit to the environment by yellow buses spending less time in our neighborhoods, spewing-out diesel fumes,” said Jacobs. “This would be an incentive for districts to get going in transforming their districts back to neighborhood and community-based models versus busing-based models.”
For more information on Chris Jacobs, and his campaign for New York State’s 60th Senate District, visit http://www.chrisjacobsforsenate.com/. The 60th Senate District includes Grand Island, the City of Tonawanda, Town of Tonawanda, portions of the City of Buffalo and City of Lackawanna, Hamburg, Orchard Park, Evans and Brant.