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On Saturday, 2/26/11 there was an article which was written in the Staten Island Advance that the City is considering the idea of reimbursing parents to take their children who are enrolled in special education to school on their own as a way of saving the majority of $800 million it spends on busing those students to school.

As you know, over the years the Citywide Council on Special Education (CCSE) has enjoyed a collaborative working relationship with both the Department of Education (DOE) and Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) as evident by the Driver/Matron training modules currently utilized throughout the City.  This article was quite a surprise and blind-sided us especially when Task Forces are currently being developed in all five (5) boroughs after consultation with both Deputy Chancellors Grimm and Rodriguez and OPT's Eric Goldstein and Matt Berlin to address the parents' concerns over special education busing.

In order to gauge where parents stood on the idea proposed by Chancellor Black, we conducted a survey which went live on Monday, 3/7/11.  This survey was directed at parents of children with IEP's attending either District 75, District 31 or a Charter School on Staten Island.  If parents found the option of transferring the accountability and management of transporting children with disabilities to parents problematic, we encouraged them to complete the short survey which we had developed.

We suspected that most parents who read this article would be outraged to hear that when the DOE can't find a solution to a problem, parents are expected to accept inaction and the resulting confusion.  What is OPT accountable for?  How is their performance measured?  What is being done to improve the system?

As a parent of a child with a disability, we encourage you to VOICE your disapproval and sign our petition now.  Please feel free to add your own comments to personalize the letter below and most importantly, forward the link to your child's classmates parents and PTA.

Thank you for your time.


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