Skip to main content

Decision No. 13,611

Appeal of LOU ANN SKINNER on behalf of her son, JARRAD, from action of the Board of Education of the Hempstead Union Free School District regarding transportation.

Decision No. 13,611

(May 21, 1996)

Berkman, Henoch, Peterson & Peddy, P.C., attorneys for respondent, Gilbert Henoch, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals respondent's decision denying transportation to her son, Jarrad, because he resides more than fifteen miles from the nonpublic school he attends. The appeal must be dismissed.

Jarrad resides at 45 Marvin Avenue in the Hempstead Union Free School District ("district") and attends Regis High School, a nonpublic school located outside the district. Regis High School is located over fifteen miles from Jarrad's residence.

On February 1, 1995, petitioner requested that respondent provide transportation for Jarrad to Regis High School. On June 27, 1995, the district's transportation supervisor denied petitioner's request.

Petitioner appealed the denial to respondent. In her appeal, petitioner requested that respondent pay the cost of the train fare from Hempstead to Woodhaven, Queens, which is located fifteen miles from Hempstead. The train fare from Hempstead to Woodhaven is the same as the train fare from Hempstead to Pennsylvania Station, which is the train Jarrad actually takes to attend Regis High School. Respondent denied petitioner's request on August 24, 1995.

Petitioner asks that I direct respondent to pay for a portion of Jarrad's public transportation expenses up to, but not exceeding, a distance of fifteen miles. Petitioner contends that the Baldwin and Rockville Centre Union Free School Districts pay these expenses for the students in their districts who attend Regis High School. Respondent maintains that it has no obligation to pay for Jarrad's transportation, either in whole or in part, where the nonpublic school he attends is located more than fifteen miles from his home.

Education Law '3635(1)(a) requires the district to transport all children residing in the district who attend grades kindergarten through twelve, "up to a distance of fifteen miles, the distances in each case being measured by the nearest available route from home to school." The board of education of a union free school district may provide transportation for a greater distance than that required by statute only with the approval of district voters (Appeal of Robert G., 32 Ed Dept Rep 60; Appeal of Hannan, 28 id. 456).

Additionally, transportation may be furnished for certain other pupils attending nonpublic school in accordance with Education Law '3635(1)(b)(i) and (ii). Pursuant to Education Law '3635(1)(b)(i), a school district providing transportation to a nonpublic school for pupils living within the specified distances from such school must designate one or more public schools as centralized pickup points, and must provide transportation between such pickup points and such 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)(ii) further states that a board of education "may, at its discretion," provide transportation from a centralized pickup point for pupils residing within the district to a nonpublic school located more than fifteen miles from the home of any such pupil, provided that transportation has been provided to the nonpubic school in at least one of the immediately preceding three school years. When a school district exercises its discretion to provide transportation pursuant to Education Law '3635(1)(b)(ii), the distance from the pickup point to the nonpublic school must not be more than fifteen miles.

In this case, the district voters have not authorized transportation greater than that required by Education Law '3635(1)(a). Moreover, there is no evidence that transportation is required pursuant to Education Law '3635(1)(b)(i) or (ii).

Petitioner concedes that her residence is more than fifteen miles from the nonpublic school Jarrad attends but nevertheless requests that I direct respondent to pay the cost of transporting Jarrad a distance of fifteen miles from his residence. There is no requirement in Education Law '3635 that transportation be provided to or from a point fifteen miles (formerly ten miles) along the route from a pupil's home to the school he legally attends (Appeal of Conway, 7 Ed Dept Rep 21; Matter of Perry v. Bd. of Educ. of Hempstead UFSD, 36 Misc 2d 871). The mileage distance set forth in the statute is a condition for eligibility and is not a measure of the district's obligation to provide transportation (Appeal of Conway, supra). Accordingly, petitioner is not entitled to the requested payment.

Finally, in the absence of any details concerning the transportation provided by neighboring districts, I will not comment on those arrangements. Moreover, the fact that other districts may pay for transportation to Regis High School does not require respondent to pay for transportation which is not required by Education Law '3635.