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Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q)
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Q: What is 4PM and After busing?
A: According to Section 3627 of the New York State Education Law, the NYC Department of Education (DOE) must provide busing on request for all distance eligible general education students in Grades K-2 (those who live at least 1/2 mile from school) and Grades 3-6 (those who live at least 1 mile from school), who attend school for regularly scheduled academic classes from 9:30 a.m. (or earlier) through 4:00 p.m. or later. This transportation may be requested for all distance eligible students at a given grade level or for all distance eligible K to 6 students in the school. It is not available for “after school” programs nor is it available for less than all students at a given grade level or all students in the school.
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Q: How do schools request 4PM and After service?
If your school already receives services from the Office of Pupil Transportation, three steps are required as outlined below. If you school does not currently
receive any services from OPT, however, please e-mail TransportSchedule@schools.nyc.gov
before July 1 and request information on how to go about requesting an OPT code as a new school. For schools already receiving services, the requirements are:
- A school must inform OPT of their interest by July 1 of the calendar year for which transportation will be requested. Schools will not qualify for 4PM and After transportation service if they change their session end time from before 4:00 p.m. to after 4:00 p.m. after July 1; all qualifying schools must lock in their session times by July 1. [Schools should contact OPT at 718-392-8855 and speak with their Account Manager regarding any session time-related issues].
- Schools must also inform OPT by July 1 if they want 4 PM and After busing to be provided by DOE vendors or if the school wants to receive reimbursement for the use of its own vendors. Schools should inform OPT by e-mailing a 4:00 PM and After School Transportation Service Request form to TransportSchedule@schools.nyc.gov no later than July 1.
- Schools must also enter all of the students for whom they want 4 PM and After busing in ATS (the public and charter school student information system) or NPSIS (the non-public school student information system, which can be accessed here by July 1.
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Q: How will 4PM and After Busing be structured and implemented?
A: Schools that are eligible for 4PM and After busing may receive it in one of two ways: 1. through the use of the DOE's current vendors, or 2. if schools can provide the service directly and in a more cost-effective manner than through the use of DOE vendors, schools may be reimbursed for providing the service.
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Q: How is service provided for a school using DOE vendors?
- If a school wants 4PM and After busing, it must notify the Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) by July 1 of the calendar year for which busing will be requested.
- If a school requests service using DOE vendors, morning pick-ups will occur at the current DOE standard, i.e., stops will be located at intersections not less than 1/4 mile (1320 feet) apart. If specifically requested, afternoon drop offs may occur at OPT-determined stops as close to 600 feet from a child’s house as possible, otherwise afternoon stops will also be not less than ¼ mile (1320 feet) apart. All afternoon stops on the school’s routes must adopt one standard or the other: ¼ mile or 600 feet. No PM route will contain a mix of ¼ mile and 600 foot stops. For schools that qualify for 4PM and After busing, if 600 foot stops have been requested, on days where there is pre-4pm dismissal (i.e., a regularly scheduled “early dismissal”), afternoon drop-offs will occur at the same 600 foot locations.
- Existing DOE vendors will provide this service.
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Q: How is service provided for a school receiving reimbursement?
- If a school wants reimbursement for 4PM and After busing, it must notify OPT by July 1.
- If a school is not using a DOE vendor for 4PM and After busing, OPT may provide reimbursement for both AM and PM routes.
- DOE will only provide reimbursement to schools contracting with their own vendors if those vendors can provide the required service in a more cost-effective manner than DOE vendors. The reimbursement rate for the 2013-2014 school year was $13 per student per day, or approximately $2,340 per year. The reimbursement rate for years after 2013-2014 will be determined annually based on available funds.
- All schools participating in the reimbursement program must submit reimbursement applications to the DOE, which must include a provision stating that the licensed transportation carriers providing the After 4 busing will abide by all applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules and regulations.
- DOE may provide reimbursement to schools qualifying for this option for AM pick-ups and PM drop-offs for Monday through Fridays (including early dismissals). Such reimbursement for non-public schools will be limited to 180 days contained within the regularly scheduled DOE public school calendar year including five alternate days.
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Q: How will schools be reimbursed for 4PM and After busing?
The full After 4 Legislation Reimbursement Procedure Outline can be accessed here
. In short, the procedure for reimbursement will be as follows:
- Schools must submit necessary W9 paperwork to DOE by July 1. The W9 should be School Support Services, Finance Department, 44-36 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, NY 11101. IF schools requested and received reimbursement for service during the previous school year, and will be using the same service provider this year, a new W9 form is not required.
- Schools must enter all their students into ATS or NPSIS by July 1.
- DOE will make eligibility determinations for students based on grade and distance. Schools will only be reimbursed for those children eligible for full-fare transportation.
- Schools will provide a monthly invoice to the DOE and DOE will submit payment to the schools, subject to a review and audit of the invoice to determine eligibility of students listed.
- DOE requests that schools elect to receive payment via direct deposit. The form for doing so can be accessed here. (Payments by check will take longer and are subject to finance charges of $3.50 per check.)
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Q: Will all schools that request 4PM and After busing receive it?
A: All schools eligible for this service will receive this service but because funding for these programs is limited, in the event that demand exceeds the funding provided through this legislation, the funding will be allocated equitably among all schools with eligible students. In this case, only partial service and/or partial reimbursement will be provided (e.g., limited number of days or reimbursement at a fraction of the established reimbursement rate).
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Q: Can I combine reimbursement with full-fare MetroCards and/or OPT busing?
A: No. Schools may not combine these different services. If a school elects to be reimbursed for hiring its own vendor, it is not also eligible for OPT busing and/or full-fare MetroCards during another time. The programs cannot be mixed and matched. Children eligible for half-fare MetroCards due to distance ineligibility, however, may still receive these half-fare MetroCards.
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Q: Our school’s kindergarten class is dismissed at 3pm and other grades are dismissed after 4pm. What stops and services will the kindergarten class receive?
A: For schools electing 4pm and After busing service from OPT, all grades being dismissed prior to 4pm will receive standard OPT stops, i.e., not less than ¼ mile apart. Only grades being dismissed after 4pm will receive the 600 foot stops, if specifically requested. In this example, the kindergarten class dismissed at 3:00p.m. would receive stops not less than ¼ mile apart while the other grades on the other buses being dismissed after 4pm would receive the 600 foot stops, if 600’ stops were requested.
If the school elected to receive reimbursement, it would not receive reimbursement for the children dismissed before 4pm and would only receive reimbursement for children dismissed after 4pm. In this example, the school would not receive reimbursement for the kindergarten class but would receive reimbursement for the other grades. For the kindergarten class, the school could choose to have OPT provide the busing if the students met all the requirements for OPT busing (grade/distance eligibility; 11 pupils for a route; not over 5 miles; etc.), or it could choose to hire its own vendor to bus the kindergarten students but would not be reimbursed for this.
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Q: OPT provided busing to our school during a previous school year. We now wish to contract with our own vendors and be reimbursed from OPT for the coming school year. May we switch?
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Q: If a school hires its own vendor, the vendor must abide by all federal, state, and local rules, laws and regulations. What are the federal, state, and local laws?
for a list of applicable laws.
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Q: If a school elects to receive reimbursement from DOE for morning and afternoon busing, may it still use OPT for its field trips?
Yes. Information on requesting field trip services is available on the OPT website here
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Q: If my school elects to receive reimbursement for OPT services and state funding runs out before the end of the year, can my school switch to OPT service in the middle of the year?
A: No. A school must stick with its designated plan throughout the year.
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Q: If a school requests stops at 600’, is DOE prepared to increase the number of routes to accommodate the new stops?
A: DOE will work to optimize routes to provide the more frequent stops in the most efficient way possible. In some cases additional routes will be added; in other cases, stops will be added and travel times for students may be longer.
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Q: How often will DOE request cost justification information?
A: DOE’s determination to reimburse a school for its costs in providing the after 4 pm busing requires that such school’s costs for the busing are less than DOE’s costs for the busing. If the DOE has determined to reimburse your school for the provision of after 4 pm busing, the amount reimbursed must correspond to the costs your school has incurred for this transportation (which must be less than DOE’s costs). Therefore, it is critical that your school maintain accurate records of your operation costs. DOE will require that such records be submitted to the DOE twice each year: in January for the September through December service period and in July for the January through June service period.
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Q: I still have further questions. Whom do I ask for more information?
A: Please call the OPT customer service line at (718) 392-8855 and ask for the Account Manager for your borough or school.