One year ago, Pearl River voters passed a proposal to change the bus limits for Pearl River High School with 1,170 yes votes (63.4 percent) to 674 opposed.
Through the 2010-11 school year, all Pearl River High School students except those within 1.5 miles of the building had been eligible to take the bus to school.
With the vote last May, that changed. Students in grades 9-12 within three miles of the school and eighth graders within two miles were no longer allowed to take the bus, effective for the current school year.
Over 100 Pearl River residents signed a petition to return the bus limit to 1.5 miles. The item will be on the ballot when Pearl River School District voters turn out from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Pearl River High School's Pirate Cove.
Proposition 2: Citizen's Petition is worded as follows:
Shall the Pearl River Union Free School District Modify its transportation eligibility limit effective July 1, 2012, for students in grades 9-12 from the existing three (3) mile limit to a one and one-half (1.5) mile limit, and students in grade 8 from two (2) mile limit to a one and one-half (1.5) mile limit, thereby increasing the proposed 2012-2013 School District in an amount not to exceed $220,000?
JoAnn Hodges is among the parents who were upset by the change made last year. She argues that students are left walking to and from school on roads that are not safe. Hodges has a 16-year-old daughter attending the high school and another child in elementary school.
"The high schoolers now have to walk on dangerous roads," Hodges said. "Some of the roads don’t have sidewalks or shoulders. Others have to walk through a one-way tunnel or across train tracks in the dark and in all kinds of weather."
Hodges said that the PTA should also have stepped in. She added that many residents who were within the new area not eligible for busing did not even realize it when last year's vote went through.
The district sent out numerous notices of the change and it was discussed in many school board meetings, but Hodges is not the only one to raise that concern. Pearl River Board of Education member Jackie Curtiss, who is running for re-election, was asked about her biggest regret at last week's candidates' night.
"The biggest thing I regret is not getting more information out to parent so they understood what they were voting on last year," Curtiss said. "Now it's going to be an issue if it gets voted back in and we have to cut $200,000 out of the budget."
Pearl River High School PTA Co-President Patrice Carrieri, one of the three candidates running for two spots on the board of education in Tuesday's vote, said she voted against the change last year, but added that voters considering Proposition 2 this year must take its entire impact into account.
"I feel safety has to be first and foremost," Carrieri said. "If it is even one child who gets hurt, that is one too many for me. Whether it is a child walking in a dark area or an area without sidewalks, I don't think we can take that chance.
"Before people vote Tuesday, they do need to know what they implications are if the transportation gets reinstated. People need to make a clear and educated decision knowing when that is in the budget, something else may be eliminated."
If the measure passes, the cost would have to come from reserves because it is not included in the proposed 2012-13 budget. Going forward after that, it would have to be figured into the budget.
Proposal 1 on Tuesday's ballot is the 2012-13 budget. Check back with Patch later for more on the budget.
Voters will also chose who will fill two available seats on the Pearl River Board of Education. Incumbents Curtiss and Bruce Bond are running against challenger Carrieri. To read more about that election, click here.