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4:00 PM and After Transportation Request 4 PM and After Busing Information for the 2013-14 School Year

I.     Q: What is 4PM and After busing?
A:
According to newly enacted Section 3627 of the Education Law, the NYC Department of Education (DOE) must provide new busing options for distance eligible students in Grades K-2 (at least 1/2 mile from home to school) and Grades 3-6 (at least 1 mile from home to school) who attend school from 9:30 a.m. (or earlier) for regularly scheduled academic classes through 4:00 p.m. or later.

  II.   Q: How do schools request 4PM and After busing?
       A:
Three steps are required:

1.     If a school has not already done so, it must inform OPT by Monday, July 1, 2013 of its session time. [ Schools should contact OPT [718-392-8855] and speak with their account manager regarding any session time-related issues ]  Schools will not qualify for 4PM and After busing if they change their session end time from before 4:00 p.m. to after 4:00 p.m. after July 1, 2013—all qualifying schools must lock in their session times by July 1. 

 2.  Schools must inform OPT by July 1, 2013 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 4:00 PM and After Transportation Request to TransportSchedule@schools.nyc.gov no later than Monday, July 1, 2013. 

3.    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, can be accessed here ) by July 1, 2013.

  III.        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.

Schools Using DOE Vendors

1.    If a school wants 4PM and After busing, it must notify the Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) by July 1, 2013.

2.    If a school requests service using DOE vendors, morning pick-ups will occur at the current DOE standard, i.e., stops will be located not less than 1/4 mile apart. Afternoon drop-offs will occur at stops as close to 600 feet from a child's house as possible. For schools that qualify for 4PM and After busing, on days where there is pre-4pm dismissal (i.e., regularly scheduled “early dismissal”), afternoon drop-offs will occur at the same location as on other days in the afternoon, i.e., as close to 600 feet from a child’s house as possible.

3.    Existing DOE vendors will provide this service.

Schools Receiving Reimbursement

1.    If a school wants reimbursement for 4PM and After busing, it must notify OPT by July 1, 2013.

2.    If a school is not using a DOE vendor for 4PM and After busing, OPT may provide reimbursement for both AM and PM routes.

3.    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. This reimbursement rate (for the 2013-2014 school year) translates to $13 per student per day, or approximately $2,340 per year [If demand exceeds the funds available for reimbursement, then the per pupil rate may be adjusted] .   

4.    All schools participating in the reimbursement program will submit reimbursement applications to the DOE, which will 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 .

5.    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 will be limited to the regularly scheduled DOE public school calendar year plus five alternate days.

  IV.          Q: How will schools be reimbursed for 4PM and After busing?
A:
The full After 4 Legislation Reimbursement Procedure Outline with important details can be accessed here.
  In short, the procedure for reimbursement will be as follows:

  • Schools must submit necessary W9 paperwork to DOE.  The W9, which can be accessed here, should be submitted to:  Office of School Support Services, Finance Department, 44-36 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, NY 11101.
  • Schools must enter all their students into ATS or NPSIS.
  • 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.)

  V.            Q: Will all schools who request 4PM and After busing receive it?
A:
All schools that are 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 eligible costs).

  VI.          Q: Can I combine reimbursement with full-fare Metrocards and/or OPT busing?  (For instance, can I use OPT full-fare Metrocards in the morning and receive reimbursement for hiring a bus service in the afternoon?  Or can I receive reimbursement for a morning bus route but receive 600 foot OPT stops in the afternoon?)

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.

  Please note that children eligible for half-fare Metrocards due to distance ineligibility   may still receive these half-fare Metrocards.

  VII.       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, 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.  In this example, the kindergarten class 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 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 or it could choose to hire its own vendor to bus the kindergarten students but would not be reimbursed for this.

  VIII.     Q:  OPT provided busing to our school during the 2012-2013 school year.  We now wish to contract with our own vendors and be reimbursed from OPT for the 2013-2014 school year.  May we switch?

A:  Yes.  A school receiving 4pm and After Busing may choose to receive busing from OPT or be reimbursed and hire its own vendors in 2013-2014, even if this is a change from its system in 2012-2013.

  IX.          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?

A:  Click here for a list of applicable laws.

  X.            Q: If a school elects to receive reimbursement from DOE for morning and afternoon busing, may it still use OPT for its field trips?

A: Yes.

  XI.          Q: I still have further questions.  Who 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.

  XII.       Q:  If my school elects to receive reimbursement for OPT services and the monetary cap 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.

  XIII.     Q: My school currently uses OPT busing and dismisses its classes after 4pm.  Must we have these new After 4pm stops?

A: No.  Schools may elect to continue using stops ¼ mile apartment for 4pm and After Busing; the new stops are optional.  

              Additional FAQs – 4 PM and After School Bus Transportation

XIV.       Q: My school received DOE busing 2012-2013 and will now elect the Reimbursement Program, please confirm the costs for reimbursement are not counted against cap per the legislation?

A: All costs expended by DOE in excess of its costs to provide transportation service in the 2012-2013 school year will be charged against the cap.  For example, if DOE expended $100,000 to bus your school’s students in 2012-2013 and if DOE’s costs to bus your students in the 2013-2014 school year are $120,000, the additional $20,000 in costs will be charged against the cap. If DOE’s costs for the provision of after 4 pm busing exceed the cap established by the law, DOE will reimburse your school’s costs on a proportionate basis.

  XV.      Q: What happens next year?  I received DOE busing 2012-2013, I join the reimbursement program for 2013- 2014, and will I then be counted against the cap in 2014-2015.

A: The legislation only governs the 2013-2014 school year.

XVI.   Q: Is DOE prepared to increase routes to accommodate the new stops? And will this count against the cap.

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.  All costs for additional routes or longer routes will be charged against the cap.

XVII.  Q: Will DOE request cost information monthly?

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 at regular intervals throughout the 2013-2014 school year.