Principals and transportation coordinators have been contacted by Rabbi Moshe Ausfresser, the Jewish Liaison to the Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT), with clear instructions for how they can hire buses during the school strike and get their children onto regular bus routes for the duration of the strike.
“It’s much easier,” said Rabbi Ausfresser. He encouraged schools to talk to the parents about getting this in place, if the school has not already done so.
Under this program, either the school or the bus company is reimbursed by OPT, as long as the correct paperwork is filled out and filed each week. The school would hire a bus company for as many routes as it has to cover.
Schools may prefer to pay for private school buses to transport current eligible yellow bus students. Or a private bus company may be willing to be reimbursed directly from OPT for transporting Yellow Bus students to school instead of charging each parent.
This is the procedure to use if you are using a bus/van to transport multiple students in a vehicle:
1. The Principal must submit a Third-Party Payer Assignment Form to OPT for each student who will use the van/bus vendor. This is done one time only, and can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Each parent, as they use the van/bus, must complete the reimbursement form and give it to the van/bus vendor each week. The company must submit these forms weekly with their invoice. The invoice has to state the daily rate per child to be paid by the Department of Education.
3. The van/bus vendor must provide a completed W-9 form, which they may email to RBurke6@school.nyc.gov.
If the school decides to pay the van/bus vendor up front, then the school must complete the W-9 form and send in proof of payment to the company, along with parent forms for reimbursement.
Rabbi Ausfresser was pleased to state that reimbursement is made in a timely manner, often in as few as 10 days if all forms are filled out correctly. “Whoever is advancing the money is going to be paid, as long as the forms are filled out correctly,” he said.