#childsafety | Montclair May Expand Busing To HS After Years Of Complaints

MONTCLAIR, NJ — It’s a frustrating Catch-22 for many Montclair High School students. Even though they face an hour-long walk to school, many still don’t meet the minimum distance requirement for public busing.

But some of these families may be about to catch a break, Montclair Public School District officials say.

During Wednesday’s board of education meeting, officials said the district plans to expand busing to MHS students who live between 2.25 miles and 2.5 miles away from the high school. Currently, only students who live 2.5 miles away are eligible for busing.

Under New Jersey state law, a district must provide free busing for elementary students who live two miles away from school, and for high school students who live 2.5 miles away.

It may seem like a small change, but that quarter-mile could make a big difference to many families, including those living in the South End of town, who have been protesting against the district’s transportation policy for years.

A finalized plan still needs to be created by a policy committee and approved by the board. But once it’s done, an “inequity” in transportation will be put a little bit further in the rearview mirror, district officials said.

“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,” the school superintendent’s office stated in a release.

School officials continued:

“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.”

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