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New Busing Plan Causes Concerns in Sleepy Hollow

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – Eddie Jimenez was one of several Washington Irving Intermediate parents who pleaded with school board members Thursday night to reinstate busing in their neighborhood instead of requiring children to walk to school.

Jimenez, a Sleepy Hollow resident, said he has three kids and he fears for their safety. He doesn't let them walk alone. He also has trouble dropping off all of his kids and making it to his workplace before 8 a.m.

“If I cannot make it” to work, he said, “I'm not going to send my daughter to school. And my kids never miss school. She's going to miss a lot of days because I really have to go to work.”

Washington Irving students in Jimenez's neighborhood are now required to walk to school following a proposition on the ballot in March asked voters whether they wanted to extend the walking radius. Voters approved that proposition, so TUFSD stopped busing students in that area.

Superintendent Howard Smith told parents that the district was sympathetic to their plight. However, since the walking distance was decided by voters, it can't be changed without a vote.

“To change it again would require another vote by the public,” Smith said.

Parents said there are no crossing guards along Broadway and they worry about strangers in their neighborhood.

Sleepy Hollow parent Norman Purdie urged the school board to take the parents' concerns into consideration and reverse their decision.

“God forbid if anyone's child goes snatched,” he said.

Smith said the school district could not add an extra bus and let students go to a bus stop outside the walking radius because the school doesn't have an extra bus. He said the district would look into whether they had empty seats on other buses.

However, empty seats also cause complications. Buses that may have empty seats now could fill up as the weather gets colder. The school district has no way of knowing how many empty seats they'll have available.

Smith said he'd review the busing situation with the transportation supervisor and let parents know by next week whether any seats were available. Younger students would get priority over older students, he said.

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