In the current arrangement, New York City and New York State divide the cost of transporting children to private schools during standard school hours. But if the Senate Republicans get their way, the same bus service would be available for those schools that provide classes until at least 5:00 P.M..
“Currently, the city denies transportation to students who are in school after 4:30 P.M., but it’s critical to make certain our young yeshiva students arrive home safely,” says Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democratic official who is fighting for the expansion of service for children who attend yeshivas in grades kindergarten through sixth. “Our kids shouldn’t be penalized for having an extended school day.” The revised education law would additionally stipulate that the children are dropped off at the nearest possible spot to their homes. Representatives of Agudath Israel of America are also involved in the effort to legalize the new funding.
According to the Republicans, Brooklyn-based Jewish leaders requested the change in response to the abduction and murder of eight-year-old Leiby Kletzky last summer when he walked home alone from day camp. “All city students deserve a safe passage home from school,” said a spokesperson for the Republican Party. But Mayor Bloomberg is resolutely against the idea. “In a difficult time of budget cuts,” said Bloomberg spokesman Mark Botnick, “when the city is struggling to protect core services, it defies imagination that the Legislature would create expensive new mandates to benefit specific groups.”