Northport BOE Rejects Busing Request

Trustees turn down Tim Farrell's request for transportation for his daughter to attend a private school.

Parent Tim Farrell's bid for the Board of Education to make ended on Monday with the Board's 7-1 vote rejecting his request for a bus for his daughter to attend a private school in Stony Brook. The Farrells live just outside the district's 15-mile policy limit.

Tammie Topel cast the dissenting vote and Jennifer Thompson abstained.

Since no other child in the district was attending the same school, the district would have had to spend more than $18,000 to provide transportation for Farrell’s daughter. The Farrells have said that since moving to the district three years ago, their daughter is not being challenged enough.

Superintendent Marylou McDermott had reached out to the Kings Park School District, which has other students going to the same school. would have cut the cost to the Northport district to $9384.97.

But at Monday’s meeting, District Counsel Carrie Ann Tondo said that under current Board policy, the Board does not have the authority to approve a centralized pick-up point outside the district.

After the vote was taken, Topel asked that the policy be reviewed, saying that the problem was the lack of a centralized pick-up point within the district, rather than the 15 mile limit.

Thompson, who chairs the district's policy committee, said she would review the policy with committee members. She noted that the last time the policy was reviewed was in 1981, "back when I was in grade school."

Farrell thanked the Board members for all the time and consideration they had given the matter, saying he appreciated their efforts.

Board VP Donna McNaughton thanked Farrell too, saying the issue had been a really difficult one for the Board. "It was a hard decision to say no."

Ken Wiebke October 10, 2011 at 07:12 PM
Mr. Ciccone is right to reference Albert Einstein There is no easy fix to the problems with our educational system. The lack of creativity and innovation is apparent in many classrooms, in part because teachers are faced with answering to administrators who have never taught and can't begin to understand the problems they face. In addition, we have to deal with helicopter parents who think they are protecting their children, but are instead enabling them to do less than their individual best. And, of course, there are just too many government mandates. Control of local schools should be just that - local.
John T October 10, 2011 at 09:03 PM
The teachers unions are way too powerful because of the PAC money they donate to political figures and parties. We need Campaign Finance Reform now. There are so many people with great intention that want to do the job of sorting out the probems here on LI and eveywhere else, but none could ever get elected. There should be a set amount of money to run a campaign for each candidate. Look at what Steve Bellone has done with all his money that the Democrtic party has given to him. They send very expensive campaign material to people belonging to other parties. This is the same way they will spend your tax money if elected. Get out and vote. Basically we are screwed because the only ones who vote are the older retired residents,"the fixed income people" or the ones who have kids in schools. The only way we can win is if the old people live longer.
Jerry Hannon October 11, 2011 at 01:51 AM
For the person who posted: "Why do we have to pay for buses when we do not use them, why can't you opt out. Many pay for the buses and never use it." If you want to change that, then you have to change State laws/regulations. Right now, districts are not allowed that discretion by the State, and that has nothing to do with whether it is right, or wrong. Only your State officials can change that, not your school district officials. Additionally, there are safety standards in transporting children, and I doubt that a taxi -- particularly the insecurity wrecks posing as taxis that I have been transported in on Long Island -- meets those safety standards. Moreover, my understanding, based upon a public comment I heard from District Counsel at a recent Elwood BOE meeting, is that parents cannot sign a waiver of safety regulations for their children when they receive services from a school district. In other words folks, it's really not as simple as some of you may intuitively feel, and reality trumps expectations seven days out of seven. And, frankly, we can all do without the rabid hyper-political comments that too many people are posting here.
Dan Ciccone October 11, 2011 at 12:59 PM
Because you a school district cannot tell parents to put a kid in the cab and then pick up the bill... Don't like that answer. Call your legistaltor, they wrote the law.
Dan Ciccone October 11, 2011 at 01:09 PM
I agree Ken, a very interesting thread. I believe the fear is that any alternative system would eventually lead to a wider gap in education between the have's and the have not's... If you look at the mandates, you could assume that they were initiated to protect the masses from disparity in public education, so an alternative model that potentially can threaten that principle of equity for all is usually shunned by the legislators. - just a thought.


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