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Decision No. 13,200

Appeal of JOHN MECHANICK and MICHELLE MECHANICK, on behalf of JUSTIN MECHANICK, and DAWN FINCH, on behalf of ASHLEY FINCH and RYAN FINCH, from action of the Board of Education of the Galway Central School District regarding transportation.

Decision No. 13,200

(June 10, 1994)

John W. Sutton, Esq., attorney for petitioner

Van Vranken & Little, attorneys for respondent, Robert E. Van Vranken, Esq., of counsel

SOBOL, Commissioner.--Petitioners appeal respondent's refusal to change the transportation pickup point for petitioners' children. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioners reside on Route 29 in the Galway Central School District and their children attend the schools of that district. On April 2, 1993, petitioners requested that respondent change the pickup point for their children. Respondent refused this request, and petitioners commenced this appeal.

In designating pickup points, a board of education may exercise its discretion (Appeal of Guido, 33 Ed Dept Rep 244; Appeal of Klein, 27 id. 76; Appeal of Bohonyi, 26 id. 363), provided that the board uses care in exercising such discretion (Appeal of Klein, supra; Appeal of Bohonyi, supra; Appeal of Scheinberg, 21 Ed Dept Rep 32). In establishing a pickup point, a board of education must consider and balance considerations of pupil safety and convenience, routing efficiency and costs (Appeal of Donk, et al., 27 Ed Dept Rep 254; Appeal of Taylor, 26 id. 255).

The pickup point for petitioners' children is at the intersection of Route 29 and Middle Grove Road. Petitioners contend that this pickup point is unsafe because it is at the intersection of a heavily traveled highway and the crest of a hill. Moreover, petitioners maintain that their children must walk an excessive distance along that highway and cross it to reach the pickup point. While petitioners' concern for their children is understandable, they have provided inadequate evidence to support their contention that the present pickup point is unsafe. Indeed, the factors they raise -- that the pickup point is located on a heavily traveled highway which their children must cross and travel along -- are identical to the characteristics of many pickup points in rural and suburban areas and are not, in and of themselves, a basis for deeming the current pickup point unsafe (Appeal of Jett, 33 Ed Dept Rep , Decision No. 13107, dated February 22, 1994).

Petitioners also contend that respondent is treating them inequitably compared with other residents of the district. While their claims are not entirely clear, petitioners seem to contend that no other students in respondent's district are required to walk as far as their children. However, a survey conducted by respondent indicates that other students in the district are required to walk comparable distances to pickup points. Moreover, Education Law '3635 does not require door-to-door transportation, and boards of education have discretion to require students to walk to pickup points from which transportation will be provided (Appeal of Jansen, 29 Ed Dept Rep 402; Matter of Boyar, 21 id. 286; Matter of Schmitt, 21 id. 129).

Finally, the record indicates that respondent refused petitioners' request for a pickup point closer to their home because granting their request would require respondent's bus to travel an additional four miles along Route 29 to a safe turnaround. Such a change would adversely affect costs and routing efficiency. In view of those considerations and the absence of any persuasive evidence that the present pickup point is unsafe, petitioners have failed to show that respondent acted arbitrarily or capriciously when it refused to change the pickup point for their children.

I have reviewed petitioners' other contentions and find them without merit.