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Decision No. 14,415

Appeal of ATUL GOYAL, on behalf of NAKUL GOYAL, from action of the Board of Education of the Carle Place Union Free School District regarding transportation.

Decision No. 14,415

(August 4, 2000)

Kraemer & Mulligan, attorneys for respondent, Robert F. Mulligan, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Carle Place Union Free School District ("respondent") denying his request to transport his son Nakul to a nonpublic school. The appeal must be dismissed.

On April 18, 2000, St. Dominic High School ("St. Dominic's") in Oyster Bay, New York, granted admission to Nakul. On May 10, 2000, petitioner requested transportation for Nakul to St. Dominic's for the 2000-2001 school year. By letter dated May 17, 2000, Mary Richardson, the district's Administrative Assistant for Support Services, informed petitioner that his request was denied because the application was submitted after the April 1, 2000 deadline for transportation requests. This appeal ensued.

Petitioner requests that respondent's decision be overturned because the delay in filing was not the result of negligent or intentional acts on his behalf. Petitioner argues that since Nakul was not admitted to St. Dominic's until April 18, after the April 1 deadline, he could not have submitted a transportation request in a timely fashion.

Respondent contends that it properly denied the transportation request because it was untimely. In addition, Ms. Richardson avers that the district would incur additional expenses to transport Nakul to St. Dominic's. The district contracts with Pierce Coach Lines to transport one student to St. Dominic's at a cost of $3,255.27. The contract provides for an additional cost of $62.61 per additional student per month. Accordingly, the additional cost for transporting Nakul to St. Dominic's would total $644.88.

Pursuant to Education Law "3635(2), a request for transportation to a nonpublic school must be submitted no later than the first day of April preceding the school year for which transportation is requested (Appeal of Tarricone, 38 Ed Dept Rep 623, Decision No. 14,105; Appeal of Shevlin, 38 id. 365, Decision 14,056; Appeal of Mogilski, 37 id. 446, Decision No. 13,901). The purpose of this deadline is to enable school districts to budget funds and make necessary arrangements to provide transportation reasonably and economically (Appeal of Tarricone, supra; Appeal of Shevlin, supra; Appeal of Mogilski, supra). However, a district may not reject a late request for transportation if there is a reasonable explanation for the delay (Education Law "3635(2); Appeal of Attubato, 38 Ed Dept Rep 511, Decision No. 14,082). A belated decision to enroll a student in a private school is not a reasonable explanation for the late submission of a transportation request (Appeal of Attubato, supra; Appeal of Amoroso, 37 Ed Dept Rep 359, Decision No. 13,879). Even absent a reasonable explanation for the delay, a late transportation request must be granted if the requested transportation can be provided under existing transportation arrangements at no additional costs to the district (Appeal of Mogilski, supra; Appeal of Somer, 34 Ed Dept Rep 16, Decision No. 13,218).

Respondent alleges that it would incur an additional annual expense of $644.88 to transport petitioner’s son. Petitioner argues that it is patently unfair that his son is denied transportation that would cost only a fraction of that already being spent on another student.

A board’s refusal to grant a late transportation request is not an abuse of discretion where additional expense is necessary, even if the request is prompted by a change in school enrollment which occurs after April 1 (Appeal of Amoroso, supra). Under the circumstances of this case, I conclude that respondent has not abused its discretion in denying petitioner’s late transportation request where it would incur additional expenses to grant such request.