In response to past questions about the feasibility of providing late buses for Lynbrook students who attend private schools, the Lynbrook Union Free School District revealed the results of an economic study during Wednesday night’s board of education meeting at Lynbrook High School.
Currently, the district does not provide late bus services for students who attend private schools, the board said.
According to the study presented by Lynbrook Administrator for Personnel and Student Support Services Denise Nystrom, the district currently pays for the regular transportation of 118 students to attend 19 different non-public schools. A large amount of those students attend Chaminade, Kellenberg, Sacred Heart, Brandeis or St. Raymond's.
Under current busing prices, it would cost the district $193,110 per year to send late buses to those five schools. That figure does not include the cost of sending buses to the other 14 non-public schools that Lynbrook students currently attend, according to the presentation.
Supplying late buses to private schools would require them to be provided within the district as well, a service that is not available to current Lynbrook UFSD students.
Using the current YMCA after-school program as a model, Nystrom determined that providing late buses to both the five private schools and Lynbrook public schools would cost $260,890.
Given that her calculations only included the five most populated private schools and the YMCA program public school students, Nystrom said that the final cost would most likely be higher than her original figure.
The district could also choose to combine private school routes with neighboring districts and pay for the transportation on a "per pupil" basis -- this would expose the districts to costs in the $500,000 range, according to Nystrom.
With mounting concerns about the 2-percent tax cap and how it will affect the financial well-being of the district in coming years, the board expressed that the cost of instituting late buses may be prohibitively high.
The recently approved budget was $11,000 shy of the state mandated cap, according to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Melissa Burak.
"I think the financial exposure is just too great," Board President Catherine Papandrew said.
But the board's reasoning for not providing late buses was not acceptable to some.
"We're asking for a very reasonable thing that 75 percent of school districts on Long Island provide to [students]," a Kellenberg parent said. "I'm really disappointed."
Following the board's busing discussion, Superintendent Dr. Santo Barbarino revealed that, due to lack of interest, the district's summer evening playground program is in serious jeopardy.
After releasing a survey assessing public interest, the district set a price of $162 for each interested student to have access to supervised playground time on summer evenings. The response after releasing this figure was far below expected.
The district, which does not intend to use funds to pay for the program, is unable to pay staff under the current enrollment, according to Barbarino.
"At this point, it's tough to go forward with this," Barbarino said. "We can't spend that kind of money, we need the money from the public in order to go forward with the project. I don’t think we're going to get the participation at this point."
Those who already paid for the program will get their money back, according to the board.