Aug 4, 2011 7:16 PM by Dr. Anya Winslow
It's back to school for some districts and with a new year comes change.
For D-49, its biggest change involved fee-based bussing. The decision came earlier this year when the school board decided to cut bus funding. The decision leaves families with few options -- carpool or drive their kids to school and back.
Drop-offs and pick-ups are causing traffic nightmares at some intersections and schools where there is only one way in and one way out.
We caught up with a few parents while they were waiting in line outside of Falcon High School on Thursday afternoon.
Wendy Dragon, who has three children in the district and lives less than five minutes away, says, "It makes me very frustrated. I mean, I leave my house and it takes me one-and-a-half hours to pick-up three kids where it should take me less than twenty minutes to get them all and get back home."
Dragon is not alone in the wait. Mother of four, Zina Venneberg, says, "I came forty minutes early because the first day we came at 2:15 p.m. and were stuck at the main road." School does not let out until 2:40 p.m.
Stephanie Meredith, D-49 spokesperson, says, "Honestly, the first week we can say is an anomaly for what [it's] gonna be like the rest of the year. This is again, working out the kinks and looking at the traffic and making those adjustments."
Venneberg says she only lives two-and-a-half miles away from school. If her kids were to take the bus the closest bus stop is one mile away. At that point, it's not worth paying for the bus, which she adds, "Would be around fourteen hundred dollars a year," for their four children.
The majority of parents were also concerned about the safety of drop-off and pick-up points for the bus stops.
Dragon says, "The drop-off and pick-up has changed. Instead of being on a side street where kids were waiting, [now] they're waiting on streets like Meridian," which is a busy street.
Buses no longer stop door-to-door. Instead, there are general pick-up points scattered throughout the district. Additionally, there already have been changes to the scheduled stops.
"We had to eliminate some of the smaller stops that were picking-up a few kids in the neighborhood [and re-assign the stops] so they're picking-up kids in concentrated areas."
For parents who were concerned that their children were going to be riding the bus for longer than an hour, Meredith was quick to re-assure that once they work out the kinks, "We won't have students on a bus for more than an hour. That's policy."
D-49 says they are looking for feedback so that they can make proper changes. You can call them at (719) 495-1159 or (719) 495-1151 with concerns, comments, suggestions and feedback.
By the end of the weekend, Meredith says there should be updated routes posted on the district's website. You can access that website by clicking here.