To the Editor:
A proposition will be included in the next school board election that would extend the number of miles for which busing would be provided to North Bellmore students from 15 to 17.5. It would only apply to students not attending public schools.
The members of the Young Israel of North Bellmore worked hard to put together this proposition. They need this small extension because some of the private schools that they would like to send their children to are just a mile or two past the current 15-mile limit.
The synagogue members pay school taxes like all other North Bellmore residents, but they do not use the local schools. They want their children to receive a religious education along with an academic education so they must pay tuition of, on average, $10,000 per child per year. The district’s free busing is a big draw to help offset that additional cost.
Young Israel is very small, with only about nine school-age children. As of now, most are in schools within the 15-mile limit, but some of the younger ones might need the extra 2.5 miles to attend schools appropriate for them.
Members also want to attract new families to the community. And new families will all pay school taxes, and not use the school system at all — just the free busing, so members figure it’s a win-win for everyone.
The school board has estimated that the cost would be $100,000, but synagogue members consider that a very high estimate. Being that the current members’ children go to schools within the 15-mile range, the extra costs are difficult to predict. The neighboring East Meadow School District has a range of 17 miles, which is attracting new families. Perhaps the two school boards could share the busing costs since these children would probably go to the same schools in Far Rockaway or other parts of Queens.
Synagogue members hope their friends and neighbors in North Bellmore will vote yes on this proposition on May 15 to help make North Bellmore a more vibrant, family-friendly community.