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Decision No. 13,463

Appeal of WILLIAM A. PAULDINE, on behalf of his son, TIMOTHY F. PAULDINE, from action of the Board of Education of the Wappingers Falls Central School District regarding transportation.

Decision No. 13,463

(August 17, 1995)

Thomas D. Mahar Jr., Esq., attorney for petitioner

Raymond G. Kruse, P.C., attorney for respondents, Bob A. Kramer, Esq., of counsel

SHELDON, Acting Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals respondent's denial of his request to change the transportation pick-up point for his son, Timothy, and seeks an order directing the relocation of that pick-up point to his residence. The appeal must be dismissed.

On October 11, 1994, petitioner submitted a request to respondent's superintendent of transportation to change his son's transportation pick-up point, alleging that it was unsafe for his son to walk to the existing pick-up point. On or about October 19, 1994, respondent's transportation supervisor denied petitioner's request. Respondent concluded that there was sufficient shoulder space on the side of the road to safely accommodate students walking to the existing pick-up point, that the existing pick-up point is less than 300 feet from petitioner's residence, and that petitioner's son may cross the road under the direction of the school bus driver. Petitioner asserts that respondent's bus driver subsequently picked up and dropped off his son at the end of his driveway until December 1994, when the driver purportedly told his son that he would need to use the authorized bus stop in the future. On December 30, 1994, petitioner appealed the denial of his request to the district's safety coordinator.

In response to petitioner's appeal to the district's safety coordinator, the Transportation Bus Stop Safety Committee met on January 31, 1995 and travelled to petitioner's residence to review petitioner's request for a bus stop change. After examining the site, the committee determined that it would be extremely dangerous for a bus to stop and pickup/discharge a student from petitioner's driveway. Therefore, the committee denied petitioner's request by letter dated February 1, 1995. This appeal ensued. Petitioner's request for interim relief pending a determination on the merits of his appeal was denied on March 13, 1995.

Petitioner alleges that the existing bus stop is unsafe for his son and disagrees with the conclusions of the Transportation Bus Stop Committee that locating a bus stop at the end of his driveway would be unsafe. He further contends that respondent acted arbitrarily and capriciously in denying his request for a proposed bus stop change. Respondent contends that the current pick-up point does not present any safety issues and that petitioner's proposed bus stop is unsafe.

A board of education may exercise its discretion when designating pick-up points (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). The law does not require a school district to provide transportation for the pupil directly to and from his home (Ossant v. Millard, 72 Misc 2d 384, 339 NYS 2d 163). In establishing pick-up points, 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).

Petitioner alleges that the existing pick-up point is hazardous for his child because of the narrowness of the road shoulder his son must traverse to reach the pick-up point, the distance of the walk from his home to the pick-up point as well as possible conditions prevalent in inclement weather. Respondent contends that a student's parents are responsible for their child's safe transportation to and from a designated pick-up point. Where a student's home is on a dangerous road or at a remote location, the parents are not free from an obligation to assist the student in reaching school or a bus pick-up point (Matter of Roach, 25 Ed Dept Rep 253). It is the responsibility of the parent, and not the district, to see that their child safely reaches the pick-up point (Pratt v. Robinson, 39 NY2d 554, 384 NYS2d 749; Appeal of Waklatsi, 33 Ed Dept Rep 552; Appeal of Fausel, 30 id. 395; Appeal of Klein, 27 id. 76).

The record demonstrates that respondent has adequately considered pupil safety when it denied petitioner's request for a change in his son's pick-up point. It examined petitioner's request, visited the proposed pick-up point, and determined that the pick-up point would be unsafe. While I am sympathetic to petitioner's concerns about his son's safety, it is the responsibility of a student's parents, and not the school district, to ensure that the student safely reaches the pick-up point designated for the student's transportation to and from that point back to the student's home.

Petitioner further alleges that since the respondent's bus driver began picking up Timothy at the end of his driveway, respondent has an obligation to continue to do so. Furthermore, petitioner contends that previous students have received bus service from this location. Respondent does not deny petitioner's allegations, but asserts that any prior pickups from petitioner's proposed location were improper. A board of education is not required or authorized to continue to provide transportation that was previously supplied in error (Appeal of McMillan, 31 Ed Dept Rep 343). Therefore, respondent has no obligation to continue utilizing that pick-up point. My review of the record indicates that respondent's determination was neither arbitrary, unreasonable nor capricious.

I have considered the parties' remaining contentions and find them without merit.