AREA NEWSThe Northern Westchester ExaminerThe Putnam Examiner

Ball Urges Fight Against Parochial Busing Legislation

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Sen. Greg BallThe next step in his quest to mobilize public opposition to a planned state bill that would reduce transportation options to parochial school students throughout the Hudson Valley, State Senator Greg Ball held a conference call with interested stakeholders last Wednesday.

The call, which drew more than 100 constituents, lasted about 45 minutes and included both broad-based discussions and concrete planning for future events.

During the call, which was moderated by Ball legislative aide Krista Gobins, another public meeting at Kennedy Catholic High School in Somers was scheduled, as well as a future day of legislative action in Albany.

The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on April 16 at the high school, and the Albany lobbing is set for April 18.

The call also included the co-chairmen of Ball’s advisory committee focused on the busing issue: Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy and Father Mark Vaillancourt, the president and principal of Kennedy Catholic High School.

Murphy said it’s important that citizens fight the busing initiative, which would lower the mileage radius school districts are required to service from 15 miles to five miles.

The recent closures of Catholic schools in Brewster, Croton Falls and Mahopac underscore the need for parents to fight back, he said.

“If anything we need this to be increased … to make sure we can keep these schools going and keep these kids educated,” Murphy said. “We will do everything in our power to storm Albany and make sure this is pulled when the unfunded mandate bill is voted on.”

Vaillancourt said the issue centers around protecting the freedom of parents to make a choice of where to educate their children.

“It’s our position here that our parents are taxpayers and they have a right to exercise school choice,” he said. “They’ve paid for this service, and … these buses are really their lifeblood.”

Ball told the community he is looking to bulk up the advisory committee; interested citizens can email Gobins at to secure a spot.

It’s vitally important that the community “move forward proactively” and not back down until the busing legislation is off the table, Ball told the callers.

“It’s actually imperative that we make sure this measure is pulled out of consideration from the larger unfunded mandate relief package,” he said. “The hope is that by building consensus, when this mandate relief package comes to the floor for the vote, it will not include the busing requirement. This is a priority of mine. We just have to work very, very hard.”

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