November 14, 2019
Richard A. Carranza, Chancellor
Department of Education
52 Chambers St.
New York, NY 10007
Dear Chancellor Carranza,
We are writing to request an immediate explanation of the Department of Education’s (DOE) failure to abide by Local Law 32, which took effect at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.
The intent of this local law, introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos and co-signed by 22 other members, is to require every school bus in New York City to be equipped with GPS tracking technology. The law also stipulates that “GPS data regarding the real time location and velocity of the bus or other motor vehicle used to transport students to or from schools shall be made available electronically to the department, as well as to authorized parents or guardians of students who are being transported by such bus or other motor vehicle.” It has come to our attention through a constituent complaint and subsequent communication with a DOE official that this provision has not been met.
In an email exchange with Council Member Robert Holden’s staff on October 28, the DOE official stated that the technology allowing parents to access the GPS data “will start getting on some of our buses this winter with full fleet operations by start of school next year.” That would put the DOE one full year behind schedule, and in effect it is breaking the law.
This is unacceptable given the fact that Local Law 32 was adopted in February and gave the administration seven months before the beginning of the school year to plan accordingly. Knowing the date this law would take effect, the DOE should have expedited the process. As we enter November, the same month in which a 2018 storm nearly shut down the city and left children stranded on school buses with parents not knowing their whereabouts, we cannot afford another frightening incident like that.
We the undersigned demand that the DOE explain its error and abide by the law immediately for the sake of our students and parents.
Robert F. Holden Ben Kallos
Council Member, District 30 Council Member, District 5
Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo Diana Ayala
Council Member, District 35 Council Member, District 8
Paul Vallone Carlos Menchaca
Council Member, District 19 Council Member, District 38
Justin Brannan Rafael Salamanca, Jr.
Council Member, District 43 Council Member, District 17
Jimmy Van Bramer Robert E. Cornegy, Jr.
Council Member, District 26 Council Member, District 36
Eric A. Ulrich Vanessa L. Gibson
Council Member, District 32 Council Member, District 16
Chaim M. Deutsch Karen Koslowitz
Council Member, District 48 Council Member, District 29