Parents and students in Montclair’s South End have asked Montclair Schools to expanding busing for more than 25 years. Despite not meeting the minimum distance requirement for busing, the South End is still close to an hour-long walk to the High School.
Montclair School District announced Wednesday that it will offer expanded busing to Montclair High School students who reside between 2.25 miles and 2.5 miles away from the school at its October 7 Board of Education meeting. The district will be revising its current busing policy which only allows for students who live 2.5 miles away to be eligible for transportation.
Once the policy committee has made the revisions, and it is approved by the Board of Education, a route restructuring will take place. The Board hopes to approve this route restructuring as soon as possible as it benefits students across the entire district. Families and students impacted by the new lower mileage parameters will be notified of transportation availability and bus stop information before schools reopen for in-person learning.
Under New Jersey state law, a school district must provide busing for elementary school students who live two miles and for high school students who live 2.5 miles away from school. Beyond those distances, the state considers a student “remote from school.” The law states that “Boards of Education are permitted, at their own discretion and expense, to provide transportation for students who reside less than remote from school.
Last year, the Board of Education formed a subcommittee to examine transportation. New Jersey Transit was part of this committee and worked with the district to improve its service to our students. This proposal is the first step by the Board of Education in alleviating some of the issues that have plagued students who live too far to qualify for busing, including safety, tardiness and absenteeism.