In Uncategorized on November 23, 2015 at 9:58 am

Students, community members, and community groups are pushing for universal bus passes for high school students, and are calling on community leaders and elected officials to help create change, because  “#2MilesIsTooFar”.


Syracuse, NY Various stakeholders (Susan Fahey Glisson, President, Parents for Public Schools; Joyce Suslovic, high school social studies teacher, Henninger HS; Kema Ndbay, student, Henninger HS; Bill Scott, Vice President, Syracuse Teachers Association; Jovan Collins, parent of student in SCSD; Jackie Warren Moore, community activist, writer; Caleb Duncan, Secretary, Green Party of Onondaga County, former school board
candidate) spoke about the value of transportation to students and the City of Syracuse on Thursday November 19th at Sniper Park in Syracuse. They called community leaders and public officials to action, and to join the effort to push for universal bus passes for high school students.


Several organizations have expressed their support for the movement including Parents for Public Schools, the Syracuse Teachers Association, and the Green Party of Onondaga County.


An introductory letter from Joyce Suslovic, a teacher at Henninger High School in the Syracuse City School District:





Thanks for your support as a concerned stakeholder in the education of ALL city school students!


When driving through Syracuse, it becomes obvious that there are very few rental properties available to families within close proximity of the five high schools in Syracuse. Thus, Syracuse high school students must walk (often in the dark, often in unsafe neighborhoods, often in the road when snow blocks sidewalks, often ill- prepared for the harsh Syracuse winters) a total of over four miles to and from school every day (distance is NOT measured by street routes).


After detailed conversations with students and parents, it is apparent that many families do not own cars (ref.-number of families below poverty line in Syracuse), and those who do own cars must work hours that are not synchronized with start and dismissal times of the schools. The problem of “getting to school” becomes even more daunting for those students who wish to participate in sports and extracurricular activities (which are necessary for their “activity list” for admission into a four-year college).


The challenge of students who need to meet younger siblings from elementary schools as they arrive at home, and those students who
must get to work after school also creates visible stress, when students should instead, be focused on passing Regents’ exams and graduating.


After researching transportation policies in the Albany, Rochester, and Buffalo City School Districts (all of whom contract with public city bus systems), discovered that these districts have 1.5 mile limits for providing bus passes for their cities. In Minneapolis, MN and Portland, ME (comparable locations), all high school students are provided with a universal bus pass. There have been far fewer issues with implementation than there are with students in these and our districts being attacked, robbed, and threatened with other hazards while walking to and from school.


As an educator with over 37 years of teaching experience, I would argue that issuing bus passes to students who live outside the one mile limit would be the most comprehensive way to improve attendance and ultimately, graduation rates in the SCSD. I look forward to working with you on your ideas for implementation.


With Appreciation,
Joyce M. Suslovic”


For more information: Caleb Duncan, (727)215-5052
Joyce Suslovic, (315)450-4429
Susan Fahey Glisson, (315)383-4018

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