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Decision No. 14,055

Appeal of LOUIS PACIONE, on behalf of VINCENT PACIONE, from action of the Board of Education of the Pleasantville Union Free School District regarding transportation.

Decision No. 14, 055

(December 22, 1998)

Giacchino J. Russo, Esq., attorney for respondent

Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Pleasantville Union Free School District ("respondent") denying his request to transport his son, Vincent, to a nonpublic school for the 1998-99 school year. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner established residence in the Pleasantville Union Free School District ("district") on August 1, 1998. Shortly thereafter, petitioner requested transportation for his son to Salesian High School, a nonpublic school located in New Rochelle, New York. Upon receipt of this request, respondent's superintendent asked the superintendent of buildings and grounds to measure the distance between petitioner's residence and the nonpublic school to determine whether the distance exceeded the 15-mile limitation set forth in Education Law "3635.

The superintendent of buildings and grounds measured the distance using three different routes and found that the shortest route measured 18.7 miles. Based on these results, respondent denied petitioner's request on August 12, 1998. This appeal ensued.

Petitioner does not challenge respondent's calculations or contend that the distance between his residence and the nonpublic school falls within the 15-mile limitation set forth in Education Law "3635. Instead, he appeals on the grounds that the trip by public transportation will take his son at least one and one-half hours each way. Respondent contends its denial of petitioner's request was proper because it has no obligation to provide transportation to a nonpublic school where the distance between the school and the student’s residence exceeds 15 miles.

Pursuant to Education Law "3635(1)(a), a board of education is required to provide transportation to students residing in the district provided the student resides within 15 miles of the nonpublic school in question, as measured by the nearest available route between home and school (Appeal of Case, 34 Ed Dept Rep 438). A board of education of a union free school district may provide transportation for a greater distance than required by statute, but only with approval of district voters (Appeal of Hinkley, 37 Ed Dept Rep 431). In this case, the district has not elected to extend transportation beyond the 15-mile radius established by Education Law "3635(1).

In addition, where a school district provides transportation to a nonpublic school for pupils living within the specified 15-mile radius from such school, the district must designate one or more public schools as centralized pickup points, and must provide transportation between such pickup points and the nonpublic school for pupils residing too far from the nonpublic school to qualify for regular transportation between home and school (Education Law "3635(1)(b)(i); Appeal of Hinkley, 37 Ed Dept Rep 431; Appeal of Case, 34 id. 438). A district may, in its discretion, provide transportation from a centralized pickup point to a nonpublic school located more than fifteen miles from the home of any such pupil, provided that transportation has been provided to such nonpublic school in at least one of the immediately preceding three years. (Education Law "3635(1)(b)(ii); Appeal of Hinkley, supra; Appeal of Case, 34 Ed Dept Rep 438).

There is no evidence in the record that respondent is obligated to establish a centralized pickup point for Salesian High School pursuant to Education Law "3635(1)(b)(i) or (ii). In the absence of such a duty, respondent has no obligation to provide transportation unless the distance between the nonpublic school and the student’s residence is less than 15 miles. The record reflects the district's superintendent of buildings and grounds measured three routes from petitioner's residence to the nonpublic school and found each exceeded 15 miles. Under these circumstances, I find respondent has no obligation to transport petitioner’s son, and therefore, properly denied petitioner’s request for transportation.

Petitioner's assertion that his son will be inconvenienced by a one and one-half hour trip each way to school by public transportation is not a basis for granting relief. Eligibility for transportation is based on the distance between home and school and inconvenience is not a basis for granting transportation to a student who is otherwise ineligible (Appeal of McNair, 33 Ed Dept Rep 418; Appeal of Kluge, 31 id. 107).

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.

END OF FILE