Byram parents gather to fight district's decision

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:14

    byram-While Byram school officials see providing bus service to and from two local day care centers as a "courtesy," many local parents look at the busing as a "necessity." Late last month, the Byram Township School District announced that it would no longer provide bus service to and from the Creative Kidkare and Building Blocks day care facilities. The announcement left many working parents with a host of concerns and questions regarding how to transport their children before and after school. At a meeting held at Creative Kidkare earlier this week, parents discussed the matter further. "I can't afford to pay for busing out of my own pocket," said one concerned parent. "That's what I pay my taxes for." School Board President Walter Stanek, who was also in attendance, explained that according to state guidelines, New Jersey school districts do not have to provide busing for any student who is to be picked up within two miles from the school. Therefore, he said, the children who live within two miles of the school and are picked up at their homes are being provided with a "courtesy" by the Byram school district. He further explained that the state only requires that a school district provide bus service to students outside of the two mile radius, whether parents want to use their homes as a bus stop or not. According to Stanek, the result of these two regulations, combined with a tight school budget, contributed to the decision to end busing to and from the local daycare centers. Kathryn Landsman labeled the decision "discrimination" because the change in busing only affects families that use the day care centers, and not the other homes within the two mile radius of the school. "It's discriminating against working parents," said Landsman. Several times, she called on other residents to come together to bring an anti-discrimination lawsuit against the board. "Nothing scares a school board more than a lawsuit," she said. Byram Mayor Eskil Danielson was also in attendance and heard most of the meeting before he was forced to leave to attend the regularly scheduled meeting of the township council. Although he did not publicly take sides on the issue, he did say that he felt the busing issue could be revisited. "I think the board owes it to you to revisit this as soon as possible," said Danielson to the crowd of parents. Stanek agreed, but an exact timeline of when the board will look into the matter was not discussed. According to Kidkare owner, a group of parents is awaiting a decision from board of education on when it will address the issue again. They have threatened to file a lawsuit if there is no answer from the board by July 26.