Elmwood Park, N.J. Parents Upset After Board Votes To Eliminate Most Bus Routes

Imagine Your Child Having To Walk Along Busy And Dangerous Routes 4 And 46

ELMWOOD PARK, NJ (CBSNewYork) — On Tuesday night, a Bergen County school board voted to stop providing buses to most public school students.

And parents in Elmwood Park are already scrambling to figure out what to do in September. Once the school year begins, students in the town will have to trek up as much as two miles on foot, and in some cases cross major highways Route 4 and Route 46 just to get to school, reports WCBS 880’s Sean Adams.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reports

“[The school] is more than two miles from here, and I’m going to have to take [my son] cause he’s only 5 years old,” one frustrated man told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg on Wednesday.

Not only did parents say they’ll be inconvenienced, but they’re also concerned about their child’s safety when he/she has to walk to school.

“Route 46 is very, very bad,” one worried woman said. “It’s not good at all.”

Loveli Ali, who has a problem walking herself, told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan her 8-year-old daughter will have to cross the busy highway when the district eliminates the routes next year.

“She would have to walk down Route 46. There are no sidewalks. There’s no way you can get to this bridge from where we live,” Ali said.

The 16th Avenue School is blocks away from Route 4, but many parents in the neighborhood told Sloan they understand the reasoning for the bus cuts.

“I would rather see them cut school busing than special ed programs,” Chris Jones said.

The move will save the district $300,000, according to Sandberg, and officials said that perhaps the borough, or parents themselves, would want to pay for it. School superintendent Richard Tomko said that the mayor could possibly come up with the necessary funds, or maybe parents could pay a fee each month for buses.

“Bringing this decision to the board and for the board to make this decision was very very difficult. Everybody cares about the safety of students,” Tomko said.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

Five new teachers will be able to be hired with the $300,000 savings, Adams reports, but many parents still believe that the cuts should have been made elsewhere. A lot of districts across the state are increasing busing costs. In Elmwood Park, parents who want to use buses in the fall will be charged $50 a month.

“In a way I don’t think it’s fair only because where the school is located,” parent Irena Stojceski said.

“I think a safe and adequate education, if that’s going to be offered to our children, that’s not going to be happening,” Ali added.

Elmwood Park used to bus students if they lived 7/10 of a mile away, but now the district will be in line with the state’s minimum, which is two miles.

Where do you stand on this issue? Is the hiring of five new teachers worth the elimination of most bus routes? Sound off with your comments below…

  • T.B.

    The roads in Elmwood Park, N.J. are very dangerous. The town is no longer a celery farm. There has been a huge construction boom and the town is very overpopulated. The Parkway, RT46, Rt80, Rt4 and not to mention the boulevard that’s now a speedway. surround the town. Children should never have to cross these roads to get to school. Our Senator needs to introduce a bill to the legislatures to mandate bussing in dangerous areas.

  • dan

    This is an outrage, crossing 46 is bad enough but some kids will even have to cross an exit ramp from the garden state parkway. This is all a ploy to get even since they didnt get there sports complex. I hope these jackasses never get reelected.

    • Alan

      Wow… talk about your conspiracy theories.

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  • roland

    The areas that the children would have to cross is extremely hazardous. Funny how two of the members who voted to get rid of busing just a few years ago fought to keep busing because of the hazardous road conditions. The only thing that changed was now their children are longer bus riders. This board pushed hard for a $19 million referendum for a football stadium with articial turf and a new admiinstration building. The current administration offices are only about 7 years old at the most from a prior referendum. Only about 3 mil of that 19 went to facilility repairs. They got greedy and the voters shot them down in flames. So now the children are paying the prices because they are angry their baby didnt pass. Also their last audit showed that last that last fiscal year they had a deficit of $422k, so this is where also alot of disgust from these parents are coming from.

  • Lucy

    I think its terrible they are making kids walk 2 miles to school in dangerouls
    conditions. They should cut the teaches salaries and benefits. That would
    be a BIGGER savings.i

    • Wayne Bergen

      Make the teachers work FOR FREE. Better yet, make the teachers pay the town for the privilege of teaching.

  • safetylast

    The report is sloppily written: Tuesday night is when the vote was taken, not when the cuts would go into effect. The cuts would last throughout the school year.

  • The Generous Rabbi

    Was a young woman killed recently in a NJ school bus accident? It’s too bad as most property taxes intended for schools and education no longer go for actual education for the kids, they just go for teacher and superintendant salaries and pensions. I’m always glad when I see tax money productively well spent.

  • Jen

    School is from aproximately 8:30am to 3:pm so what is everyone complaining about? The normal school day is unaffected. It’s the afterschool programs that are the problem and what 5 year old is going to play sports?

  • Gail

    If they’re only stopping providing buses on Tuesday night, what’s the problem?

    • Pete0803

      WOW. Read it again. They voted on Tuesday night!

  • frostiewinter

    Look at the source of all these economic troubles – The Mid East Invasion – stop that nonsense and we wont be as strapped here.
    The money is going everywhere but staying in the US, at the peoples expense at that.

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