NYS legislation expands definition of ‘child safety zone’ to provide safe transportation for students

Regional News

School bus (File/Getty)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New legislation signed into law by New York Governor Kathy Hochul expands the definition of “child safety zones.” The law allows the consideration of violent crime statistics and density of vacant buildings as justifications for the zones.

The legislation is aimed at providing safe transportation for students living in areas deemed to have higher levels of crime and vacant buildings within 1.5 miles of their school. Currently, school districts in New York cannot be reimbursed for student transport within 1.5 miles unless it’s a child safety zone.

The state’s previous criteria to establish child safety zones take into account traffic and pedestrian safety conditions such as high speed limits and lack of sidewalks, but not crime statistics.

The City School District of Albany applauded the new legislation. The district said Albany has one area that meets the criteria for a child safety zone, on the southern edge of the city where northbound traffic from Route 9 enters I-787.

“With this new Child Safety Zone law, we believe the governor and our state have addressed a fundamental question of equity for students in urban communities,” said City School District of Albany Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams. “We anticipate that this new law will give all New York school districts additional options to address student safety and chronic absenteeism, and to do so in a fiscally responsible manner for our communities.”

New York State Assemblymember Patricia Fahy and Senator Robert Jackson were sponsors of the legislation.

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