TEANECK, N.J. ( UPDATE ): Amid parental outcry, the Teaneck Board of Education unanimously reinstaed courtesy busing Wednesday night for students attending Grades 1- 4 who live 1.4 to two miles from their schools.
Public districts in New Jersey must provide busing for K-8 students who live more than two miles from their school. Teaneck has set the limit for public, private and charter school students at 1.4 miles.
Facing a $2.8 million deficit for the coming school year, the board adopted a budget in May that rolled back courtesy busing to the state level — a move that officials said would save $301,000
Parents complained, insisting the Board reverse its decision or rezone so that their children can attend schools closest to home.
"The board has decided to disenfranchise almost 400 little kids without any kind of contingency plan or any alternatives," said Philip Moell, whose son attends Whittier School 1.7 miles away. "This is going to have a very negative effect on the town."
Moell created a " No more school buses in Teaneck?! " Facebook group to mobilize parents. More than 200 joined.
The group expressed a variety of concerns, including safety precautions for the likely higher number of walkers and drivers who will be going to the schools, as well as pollution and quality of life concerns.
"I live on Larch Avenue and the cars drive so fast here that I would never want my kid walking here every day," Moell told Daily Voice.