By: Viren Abroal and Om Bhaskar (‘27)
On September 28, the South Brunswick Board of Education’s public comment section of their regular meetings at Crossroads North Middle School attracted many concerned residents. This was due to the discontinuation of courtesy busing in areas within two miles of elementary and middle schools and two-and-a-half miles of South Brunswick High School.
The change, which was made for the 2023-2024 school year, resulted in dissatisfaction between the Board and several residents due to the inconvenience it poses to some parents since their children now either take longer to come home, or the parents must pick them up themselves.
There is also an alleged danger it poses to children from the “busy” roads with passing vehicles they must walk near. For the past few Board of Education meetings, these concerns have been repeatedly brought up to the board members. While the Board has taken steps to address some of the issues that bother some South Brunswick residents, the push for reinstatement of courtesy busing continues.
“As you are taking your own time through this process, there are kids who are boarding the buses at 522, which is a very high speed road,” said South Brunswick Resident Mr. Vivek Kumar, who is running to be elected for the Board himself this November.
Mr. Suman Podder also had worries about County Road 522, where his children are normally picked up by their rerouted bus. Mr. Podder reported the road had cars rushing by every time his children entered their school bus.
Still another resident of South Brunswick, Ms. Venita Balani, referenced a petition created in favor of the reinstatement of courtesy buses. The petition was created by resident Mr. Mukesh Bhatt, who was also present at the Board Meeting.
“...You have 1,040 people who signed a petition; that's a voice from your community, from your residents, that they want this,” Ms. Balani said.
By the end of the public comments segment of the meeting, the Superintendent of South Brunswick schools Mr. Scott Feder responded to some points brought up by the residents. Regarding 2,000 students who were attached to hazardous routes, Mr. Feder stated that students who have to cross certain pathways determined to be dangerous will not be losing their buses in the future.
“So the question about the future, with those 2,000 other students, in all cases, all of those students are attached to hazardous routes, things like crossing certain pathways and such. So those are determined to be hazardous routes as a result of that, there is no plan to reduce further busing related to hazardous routes of any kind,” Mr. Feder said.
The conflict over courtesy busing in South Brunswick has been ongoing over multiple meetings, and dissipation of momentum for bringing it back doesn’t seem to be occurring any time soon.
Further discussion regarding the school district budget was also held in the Crossroads North Middle School auditorium on October 12.