School buses brought back to NJ community after PIX11 report highlighted parents’ fears

PATERSON, N.J. — Buses for almost 500 students have been reinstated after PIX11 highlighted parents' fears about their children walking to school on a winding road with few sidewalks, poor lighting and lots of overgrown brush.

"We reached out to you because no one knew what was going on with the busing," said mom, Sailys Perez. "We thought it was just very important to just try to bring it up on a bigger platform and, thankfully, you did that for us.​"

Paterson Public Schools announced they'd be slashing bus routes for almost 700 children in May. This week, Passaic County Technical Institute announced it would pick up the tab so about 500 kids could continue to receive busing to their school.

The majority of students affected by cuts attend PCTI.

About 200 students who attend other Paterson schools will remain without busing.

A spokeswoman stated that Paterson Public Schools could not afford to continue these bus routes. The district is facing financial problems that also resulted in dozens of layoffs. It's sticking with the decision to cancel buses for all students who live within 2.5-miles of school or 2-miles for elementary students.

"This is not where cuts should be made," said Perez.

Perez and other parents have drawn up petitions and attended meetings to complain. Parents were particularly concerned about their kids walking on Preakness Avenue, which is the only path to PCTI for some students. In the winter, many children who attend early or after school activities would be walking it in the dark.

One of Perez's daughter's explained how she experienced a close call in the past.

"I couldn’t see and a car was coming it almost hit my book bag," said Jaslean Perez, 16.

The busing win for parents is only temporary. PCTI has only agreed to pay for busing for one school year.

"So the fight still continues," said Perez.