Transportation to Nonpublic Schools

Q. What are the school district responsibilities for transportation to nonpublic schools?

The mandate for transportation of pupils found in Section 3635 of the Education Law does not distinguish between public and nonpublic schools. Transportation must be provided to elementary (K-8) pupils who live more than two miles from the school they legally attend up to fifteen miles. For pupils in grades nine through twelve, transportation must be provided if they live more than three up to fifteen miles from the school they legally attend. A school district may provide transportation for a lesser or a greater distance, but must be careful to treat all children in like circumstances equally. In measuring distance, the nearest available route from home to school attended is used.

The minimum and maximum mile mandate does not apply to city school districts nor to pupils with disabilities. City school districts need not provide any transportation for its non-disabled pupils in either public or private schools. However, any transportation provided must be offered equally to all children in like circumstances.

The law provides for a "centralized pickup point" from which children may be transported to a nonpublic school, where the distance between the student's home and the nonpublic school is more than 15 miles. The district is required to provide transportation only if it is currently transporting children who live within 15 miles of such nonpublic school. Parents are responsible for transporting their children to the pickup point. However, the district may provide transportation to the pickup where there is no additional cost to the district. The centralized pickup point must be a school building located within the district, but such building need not be within 15 miles of the nonpublic school.

On days in which public schools are scheduled to be closed in accordance with the school district calendar, the district is not obligated to transport to the nonpublic schools. Under no circumstances may transportation be provided on legal holidays or Saturdays.

A parent desiring transportation for his or her child to a nonpublic school must submit a request to the public school district by April first preceding the school year or within thirty days after establishing residence in the district. Late requests may not be denied where there is no additional cost to provide the service. A board may refuse to grant a late transportation request where additional expenses and new transportation arrangements would be necessary.

Last Updated: April 21, 2009