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Ceretto sponsors bill to expand access to school transportation for families living with disabilities

by jmaloni
Sat, Aug 20th 2011 01:50 am

Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-I-Lewiston, recently sponsored legislation that will expand school bus service to families and children living with physical disabilities. Ceretto noted a number of instances throughout New York in which disabled parents and guardians have been denied school bus services for their children because of the family's proximity to the school. The assemblyman's measure would allow boards of education to grant parents or guardians physically limited by a disability the option to obtain bus services.

 "Providing a quality education to every student in New York is key to building a stronger, more diverse economy in the Empire State," Ceretto said. "However, to receive this education, all students must have reliable transportation to and from school. My legislation will accomplish this important task, and at little cost to local taxpayers."

Under current law, schoolchildren who live in close proximity to the school they legally attend are not qualified to receive school district transportation, leaving the child and/or their parents and guardians to provide some other method of transportation. However, in a number of cases throughout the state, the parent of such child has a physically limiting disability and is, therefore, unable to drive or walk them. Ceretto's bill would permit local school boards to adopt a resolution that would provide these students the safe and reliable transportation they need to get to class.

"The winters in Western New York can be particularly harsh, which makes it impossible for these students to walk to school at least three months out of the year. With their parents and guardians unable to provide safe transportation for them, it is our responsibility to provide these students with transportation," Ceretto said. "As a community, we must work together to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society, our children, are provided with the resources they need - in this case transportation - to obtain a quality education in a safe environment."

The legislation was passed unanimously by the State Senate this year and awaits action in the Assembly.

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