Although the Valley Stream Central High School District Board of Education adopted its budget on March 12, the parents of private-school students who would receive MTA MetroCards instead of a yellow bus to get to school have not given up their fight.
On March 20, a handful of district administrators and board members sat down with about 25 private-school parents behind closed doors to see if some sort of compromise could be reached.
Under the spending plan, which totals $106.2 million and includes a tax levy increase of 3.06 percent, students from three private schools who live in the Valley Stream district — Chaminade High School in Mineola, Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead and the Crescent School in Hempstead — would see transportation changes. Providing approximately 90 students at those schools with MetroCards for MTA transportation, instead of school buses, is expected to save about $120,000.
Superintendent Dr. Bill Heidenreich characterized the meeting as productive and cordial, and said that both sides were willing to work toward a solution. One of the ideas that was discussed was centralized pickup points, he said. Rather than have students get picked up at their homes, they could catch yellow school buses at a handful of designated locations around Valley Stream.
“We would be able to use fewer yellow buses, and we might be able to realize the same savings than if we were to use the MTA card,” Heidenreich said. “We would have to identify all the schools that use two or more buses for combined pickup points.” The deadline to apply for non-public school is April 1, so Heidenreich said that he and his staff would examine the numbers shortly thereafter and send out requests for bids to school bus companies.
Private-school parents held another meeting on March 21, at Holy Name of Mary School, to discuss what had happened the previous night and to decide on a course of action. Virginia Clavin-Higgins, a private-school parent and a village trustee, said that the meeting with district personnel was very positive. She is in favor of establishing centralized pickup points in order to keep yellow bus service.