NEW YORK (CBS 2) –
New York City students headed back to class on Wednesday, the first day of school for about one million kids – but they’re already on vacation.
The first day of school was exciting for New York City students, and bittersweet for many parents.
“I’m still standing out here,” parent Deborah Bologna said. “She has a tendency to walk back out.”
Students lugged in bags and bags of fresh school supplies, but spent just one day in class before the vacation bell rang. They have the rest of the week off for Rosh Hashanah, a calendar clash many parents wish could have been avoided.
“I don’t think it makes sense coming today,” parent Lisa Holden said. “They should have just came on Monday.”
Even so, students are already learning a tough lesson in math. Chalking it up to a budget crunch, school administrators cut yellow bus service to nearly 5,000 students city-wide, including all seventh and eighth graders on Staten Island.
“In general in the city, for students who are in seventh and eighth grades, we don’t provide busing,” NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said. “When budget times were better, we tried to do that. Unfortunately, we’re facing very tight choices and tight situations.”
Schools are now asking many students to walk or use public transportation, and many parents are furious.
“It’s terrible that they don’t have any buses for the children to get to school,” parent Joe Scuteri said. “Some children will have to walk now, whereas before they had a safe way of getting back and forth to school.”
“That’s the tough part we’re struggling with now – what do we do if it’s not reinstated,” parent Fred Mavaro said.
Several parents and lawmakers have sued to force the city to provide bus service. The issue is still working its way through the court system.
The busing cuts will save the city about $3 million.