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Archive for Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Parents band together to find solution to school transportation problem

Walking back to their car almost two blocks from Schwegler School, Jackie Bird, center, crosses 23rd Street Monday afternoon with her two children, Maddie, 10, and Coltrane, 8. Bus service has been cut because of a school budget crisis, but parents are renting a school bus to ferry students from the Prairie Meadows neighborhood back and forth from Schwegler School.

Walking back to their car almost two blocks from Schwegler School, Jackie Bird, center, crosses 23rd Street Monday afternoon with her two children, Maddie, 10, and Coltrane, 8. Bus service has been cut because of a school budget crisis, but parents are renting a school bus to ferry students from the Prairie Meadows neighborhood back and forth from Schwegler School.

August 18, 2009

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Parents and students at Schwegler School have to walk to school now that the district has cut bus service for many children.

Parents and students at Schwegler School have to walk to school now that the district has cut bus service for many children.

Bus service at Schwegler School

Erika Dvorske, the main organizer behind adding bus service back at Schegler School, financing by parents, explains the program and how it works.

Erika Dvorske didn’t much like the prospect of her 6-year-old son walking the equivalent of a 5K, crossing two of the city’s busiest streets and its most accident-prone intersection, just to get to and from school.

So she and a growing list of parents are renting a school bus to safely ferry at least 22 classmates from the Prairie Meadows neighborhood back and forth from their scholastic finish line, Schwegler School.

“This probably does seem like a drastic solution,” said Dvorske, whose son, Nicholas, is in first grade. “I’m not opposed to my son walking for two blocks — a half mile, even. But 1.8, across 23rd and Iowa, wasn’t really a viable solution.”

Dvorske’s innovative program — working through the Schwegler PTA, Prairie Meadows Neighborhood Assn., First Student bus service and others — is among the various efforts that parents and children are employing as they grapple with $450,000 in cutbacks to the Lawrence school district’s busing system.

New this academic year, parents of elementary students who live within 2.5 miles of school no longer can pay up to $100 each semester to get bus service. The change — announced in May, to give parents time to plan and prepare — has spawned a number of shifts in back-to-school transportation:

• Cars are filling up parking lots and side streets more than ever. At South Junior High School, Assistant Principal Lynn Harrod has taken to standing in the middle of Louisiana Street to direct traffic into a parking lot where last year’s lineup of nine buses has dwindled to three, leading to more parents dropping off and picking up their kids. “It’s increased exponentially,” Harrod said.

• Parents at Deerfield, Hillcrest, Langston Hughes, Quail Run and Woodlawn schools have learned the possibilities for starting “walking school bus” programs, wherein parents and others lead children on designated pedestrian routes before and after school, safely picking up and dropping off students as they go. “We’re doing what we can,” said Amerika Grewal, an organizer who leads such trips for her son and others at Sunflower School. “This is a stopgap. … I have nightmares about the intersection of Inverness and Clinton Parkway.”

• The city of Lawrence has installed flashing school beacons along some popular walking routes near schools, to help protect children who walk or ride bikes to class.

• Working parents are leaning on friends, family and coworkers to help fill the inevitable and often unavoidable gaps left behind when the district chose to cut bus service rather than increase class sizes or otherwise cut into classroom resources.

Maria Cruz, for one, is sacrificing an hour a day from her work schedule — and more on Wednesdays, when schools have early dismissal — to pick up and drop off her son, Eduardo, for first grade.

“I’m not happy,” said Cruz, a housekeeper at The Eldridge Hotel.

Pay to ride

Dvorske and other parents at Schwegler may not be happy, either, but she’s careful to point out that she understands the pressures of meeting community needs on tight budgets. When she’s not picking up Nicholas at school, Dvorske is working as executive director of the United Way of Douglas County.

She doesn’t fault members of the Lawrence school board for cutting bus service to preserve classroom integrity. That’s why she started meeting with other parents in the spring, to see if they could “brainstorm” another way to solve their transportation problems without relying solely on more carpooling or biking or walking.

“This is a great community, and people want to be supportive and people want to come together,” Dvorske said. “I actually believed it was possible.”

After months of meetings and discussions and phone calls and e-mails, Dvorske lined up a special deal with First Student, the district’s transportation provider.

For $1,750 per semester, First Student would run a single bus in the morning to school, and again in the afternoon from school. The bus would make two stops in the neighborhood — at Holcom Recreation Center, 2700 W. 27th St., and a former Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical station, 2819 Stonebarn Terrace.

Dvorske’s plan: charge $100 per semester — $200 per year — for each child, payable to the Schwegler PTA. The amount is identical to the initial rate each family would have paid for the district’s system last year, making it fair for all.

That rate means 18 children would need to ride to break even. So far, 22 have signed up.

PTA fundraiser

The extra $800 will go to the PTA, and any additional riders — the bus can seat 45 — will pump even more money into the organization’s treasury.

“Everyone feels like they’re getting what they paid for,” Dvorske said, thankful that proceeds from the transportation service could help bolster classroom supplies, furnishings and events. “If the PTA makes $1,000, then maybe I don’t have to sell as many pastries to my colleagues at work.”

Jared Comfort, principal at Schwegler, is looking forward to the limited resumption of bus service. The first ride is contracted to arrive Thursday morning, and then continue each day through the end of the academic year.

A year ago, Schwegler had four full-size buses coming and going; so far this year there have been none, given the district’s cuts.

“It’s nice to see a group of parents who are resourceful enough to do this,” he said. “In bigger cities, you don’t often see this type of relationship-building and trying to reach out to neighbors and get a community solution to common problems.

“This is great.”

Comments

sunflower_sue 4 years, 8 months ago

Kuddos to Erika and her neighbors for thinking through what the Lawrence school district obviously didn't!

Lawrence school district gets a failing grade!

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Lori Nation 4 years, 8 months ago

From Topeka Public Schools USD 501 website: Walk Distance Reduced More students will be riding the bus to Topeka Public Schools this year. Free bus service will now be available for elementary and middle school students who live 1.5 miles or more from school. The limit the past few years has been two miles or more. Five buses have been added and additional drivers have been hired due to the increased number of students who could be riding the bus this year. Ridership could increase by as many as 1,100 students. “For a number of years our board of education has wanted to lower the distance from school that a student can ride the bus, but we have not had the resources to do that,” said Superintendent Dr. Kevin Singer. Board member Dr. Ned Nusbaum, who has pushed for the walk distance reductions said, “It is good that the effort by the administration and the support of the board of education that we are able to restore the 1.5 mile distance that we have not had since 2003.” Changes in administrative expenses and savings through budget reductions will cover the cost of the new bus service which begins August 12, the first day of school. Textbook Rental Fees Fee Level Kindergarten Grade 1-5 Grade 6-8 Grade 9-12 Low $20 $30 $30 $30 Reduced $20 $45 $50 $45 Full $30 $75 $90 $80

WOW what is Lawrence doing wrong??

And NO FEES for Eudora students. Lawrence is out of control!!!!

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Amy Heeter 4 years, 8 months ago

People please. You want the school district to not only educate your children to standards but you want them to now drive your children to school too.

You want sports and arts programs but you don't want to pay for them.

You want teachers to work from the crack of dawn and you want after school programs so you don't have to pay child care but you complain everytime teachers ask for a wage increase.

You want your kids outcomes to be competitive with national averages but you don't want to sit down with your child and help them with homework.

You want new text books and state of the art buildings but you don't want tax increases to cut into your already strained budget.

You complain about there being too many social programs but you expect the district to have the money to supply everything for free.

If you don't want to pay for it and you don't want tax increases where do you expect the money to come from?

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Marion Lynn 4 years, 8 months ago

Marion reprints while $14 million is being spent on football:

"budwhysir (Anonymous) says…

Do we have anyone making bright decisions for our school district? Or are we winging it right along with the rest of the world?. I would say if you want to ruin a kids education, why not start with tranportation. Thats right, want little Jimmie to have trouble scoring high on the government mandated testing? Just make it impossible for him to get to school. These parents that are trying to make it right are the same ones that are paying a fortune to send thier kids to a public school system that used to be part of the so called free public education system. Enough is enough I wont start to explain my true feelings other to say that I hope at some point, someone is big enough to stand up and say ooops I made a BIGGG mistake in doing this."

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budwhysir 4 years, 8 months ago

Do we have anyone making bright decisions for our school district? Or are we winging it right along with the rest of the world?. I would say if you want to ruin a kids education, why not start with tranportation. Thats right, want little Jimmie to have trouble scoring high on the government mandated testing? Just make it impossible for him to get to school. These parents that are trying to make it right are the same ones that are paying a fortune to send thier kids to a public school system that used to be part of the so called free public education system. Enough is enough I wont start to explain my true feelings other to say that I hope at some point, someone is big enough to stand up and say ooops I made a BIGGG mistake in doing this.

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Marion Lynn 4 years, 8 months ago

Check out this thread.

There is some $14 Million dollars being spent but your children are potentially endangered while travelling to and from school but football will be played on Astroturf!:

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nascarmomma 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm with horse girl! I have kids at both South and Schwegler. When the weather is nice my oldest will ride his bike. He actually wants to, except for all this rain and had to take him on the first band day. He won't be practicing like they want them to due to the size of his sax. My youngest rode the bus last year and is very excited to ride again for 1st grade. Although she wants her old bus stop back she will walk with an adult to the old firestation. And yes even in 1st grade there is homework and books to haul. Walking 2.4 miles was out of the question! Thanks to Erika for all her hard work over the last few months and also Kristy! Hopefully soon we will be able to help even more faimlies in Prarie Meadow!!

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Katara 4 years, 8 months ago

Seamus (Anonymous) says… Caning isn't that common in Singapore. In any case, the Singaporeans excel because there are standards and they work harder. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It happens much more than you believe, especially on the school level. http://www.corpun.com/rules2.htm#singsch

Standards are great but not when they eliminate the freedoms you and I enjoy here. We certainly would not be able to be having this conversation on a local media board if we decided that Singaporean standards were superior. http://www.helium.com/items/1130682-freedom-of-speech-in-singapore

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Paul R Getto 4 years, 8 months ago

myvotecounts: "You just said one of those things that makes my blood boil. If it's all public funds, it's all one budget. It's long past time to stop this fiction of justifying the spending of our tax dollars based on what “budget” it's going to come out of." === It's not all one budget. If this is what you want (and the lack of accountability that will come with it) next time you vote, support people who want to change all the laws and regulations that separate funds into different line items. Accounting rules are difficult and the Legislature likes to micromanage schools at the state budget level. Change some laws and you will be happier.

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Seamus 4 years, 8 months ago

Caning isn't that common in Singapore. In any case, the Singaporeans excel because there are standards and they work harder.

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Katara 4 years, 8 months ago

Seamus (Anonymous) says… Katara— we really ought to be asking why a child should even have to carry that much stuff. I didn't have 20 lbs of materials to carry when I was coming up through graduate school. It's certainly not because they're better educated, either. Our curriculum here in the U.S. is 2 years behind that of Singapore, where education is actually taken seriously. (And the kids there somehow survive having to use public transit and walking.) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I agree with you on that. I didn't have to carry that much weight in any bag until late high school and that was mainly because of all the extra curricular activities I was involved in.

The textbooks are huge, even at the lower grade levels. It seems like the textbook manufacturers think bigger is better.

It really does not do us much good to compare our area to a country that is much more pedestrian friendly (due to their population density). Also I'm not too sure I'd want to adopt some of the systems they choose to use.

"The Ministry of Education encourages schools to punish boys by caning for such offences as fighting, smoking, cheating, gangsterism, disrespect or vandalism.[18] Students may also be caned for repeated cases of more minor offences, such as being late five times in a term. The punishment may be administered only by the Principal or Vice-Principal, or by a specially designated and trained Discipline Master, usually in the Principal's office. At most schools, caning comes after detention but before suspension in the hierarchy of penalties." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caning_i...

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Seamus 4 years, 8 months ago

JHawker-- perhaps the people who live in the country shouldn't be subsidized anymore, either. If you live out there and have kids then you ought to make arrangements for their transportation. Otherwise, live in town.

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Seamus 4 years, 8 months ago

sturgen-- The time will come when "concerned types" on here will be complaining that our students are subjected to "repetitive motion disorders" because they're required to fill in the bubbles on a computer-graded exam. It's actually quite terrifying how wimpy we've become as a people.

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Seamus 4 years, 8 months ago

Katara-- we really ought to be asking why a child should even have to carry that much stuff. I didn't have 20 lbs of materials to carry when I was coming up through graduate school. It's certainly not because they're better educated, either. Our curriculum here in the U.S. is 2 years behind that of Singapore, where education is actually taken seriously. (And the kids there somehow survive having to use public transit and walking.)

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Seamus 4 years, 8 months ago

asonesign-- You aren't willing to spend a few bucks on something that is easy to use and will help to protect you from injury? Let me get this straight-- in order to keep you from slipping on the ice, we're all supposed to provide your car with a parking spot?

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Amy Heeter 4 years, 8 months ago

True enough Ken. Louisiana Street speed limit was reduced and islands installed to slow traffic. On routes primarly taken speed limits could be reduced during peak student travel times.

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cath0830 4 years, 8 months ago

hey sturgen, the crossing guard there is the only one on 23rd, none at Iowa.

Monkey, I agree with that comment about the map.

I too will be putting my kid on the bus. When I stop seeing a car accident at either 23rd and Lawrence, Crestline, or Iowa at least once a week, I'll concider letting him walk. Until then, no freaking way.

"asonesign175 says “…about the $270,000 press box at LHS, that was a completely different budget and it has nothing to do with any of the money from or for bussing, and it is about time that LHS gets the equal amount/ quality of sports facilities as freestate.”

You just said one of those things that makes my blood boil. If it's all public funds, it's all one budget. It's long past time to stop this fiction of justifying the spending of our tax dollars based on what “budget” it's going to come out of. "

I completely agree. My tax dollars don't magically get devided, and just because they're there in a certain budget doesn't mean they should be spent on things that are not needed.

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sturgen 4 years, 8 months ago

The follow up to this story in 5 yrs... "Parents of Obese Children demand Moving Hallways at LHS to Relieve Students from Burden of Walking From Class to Class" --this is an outrage". " My kid only walks from the couch to the fridge, do they honestly expect him to walk 500 ft. " cries one Lawrence mother obviously upset. They also forgot to photograph the crossing guard standing behind the lady in the photo....

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Katara 4 years, 8 months ago

artichokeheart (Anonymous) says… I walked to school every day of my life from K-12. Our parents never drove us not even during the big snows. Funny goings on when I was a kid we walked in groups with kids joining and dropping out when they reached their street. There was a vast range in ages for the group too. Older neighborhood kids walked with the younger ones related or not. We walked across busy streets and unmarked railroad tracks. We looked both ways before crossing, didn't take candy from strangers and walked directly to school and back home again. I don't recall anyone I knew ever being hit by a car, being overweight or missing school very often for being ill. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe1a1w... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ esteshawk (Anonymous) says… There is a wonderful invention known as a bicycle, perhaps some of you have heard of it, maybe even seen one. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I don't know if it is individual school policy or not but the school my children attend do not allow students under 4th grade to ride their bikes to school.

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horsegirl 4 years, 8 months ago

My children are some that will soon be taking the Schwegler bus. Traffic is horrendous at the schools (Schwegler and South) now without buses, and it is extremely difficult for me to leave work to go pick them all up. So yesterday I had them walk home. I showed them the way I wanted them to go so they didn't have to cross at 23rd and Iowa (which would have been the shorter route). It took my boys an HOUR to walk home. They still had to cross both 23rd Street and Iowa, but at least it was a "safer" route. I really think with the increased traffic with so many cars and more kids walking, there are going to be accidents this year. I am very thankful for the Erika and the Schwegler PTA for being so innovative.

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Peaty 4 years, 8 months ago

I will weigh our kids packs but 20# isn't too far off honestly. Why? They have homework and the textbooks are huge. Throw in a band instrument and I want to see how you would take a bicycle.

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jayhawks71 4 years, 8 months ago

"There is a wonderful invention known as a bicycle"

Not with a 20lb. backpack. I'd rather they walk given that scenario.

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monkeyspunk 4 years, 8 months ago

Holy crap, look at the boundary map for the USD 497 Elementary schools. Looks like it was drawn by a monkey that was simutaneously humping a football.

http://www.usd497.org/AboutUs/2007.08Documents/elementaryboundary.pdf

Whats with the Broken Arrow sliver along Kasold? Why does the Hillcrest School zone run from nearly Wakarusa to Maine Street?

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jayhawks71 4 years, 8 months ago

Can someone explain why 9- and 10-year-old kids are carrying 20lb. backpacks?

begin the when I was a kid story I was walking two miles and taking a city bus (with adults and high school kids) in a major metropolitan area every day when I was in the 3rd grade up through 8th grade. There were times that I even skipped the bus. I crossed at least two major streets on my way to school. These streets had more traffic than the busiest, most dangerous intersections in Lawrence at their busiest times. While I don't point this out as an ideal, from the distance standpoint, I can't be too sympathetic. end when I was a kid story

If your child is carrying a 20lb backpack in the 5th grade, please do two things: talk to the teacher and find out whether the kid needs to be lugging the contents around and think about the weight when buying the backpack. Some of these backpacks weigh 20lbs themselves. Those are for adults going camping!!!

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salad 4 years, 8 months ago

Walk 4 miles everyday, no problem. 30lb back pack, suck it up kid. Cross 23rd & Iowa....no way: that's askin' for someone to die.

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esteshawk 4 years, 8 months ago

There is a wonderful invention known as a bicycle, perhaps some of you have heard of it, maybe even seen one.

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verity 4 years, 8 months ago

In my opinion, 23rd Street and Iowa Street are dangerous for anyone to cross at any time. I walk a lot and I certainly try to avoid them.

Can somebody tell me why the children's backpacks are so heavy? Don't they have a desk or locker and have to transport all their books every day? Are they taking them home for doing homework? I grew up in the fifties---can't remember that I ever had to take more than one book home and don't think backpacks were invented then.

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Ken Harris 4 years, 8 months ago

Gotta say, if the streets are too dangerous for our kids to navigate, then it's time to CHANGE THE STREETS.

Reduce the speed limits and make using a cell phone while the car is in motion a crime. There should be absolutely no reason why these kids can't get to school, by foot or by bike, safely. I don't care that you are trying to get to work on time. It's not always about you.

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LadyJ 4 years, 8 months ago

And yet the city is putting a sidewalk and retaining wall for about 3 families at Cordley on 18th and on Ohio street because they don't "like" to walk on 19th or 17th street were there is already sidewalks. This is being done "at the city's expense". Cordley sits on 19th. Even if it is grant or stimulus money there are other places that need sidewalks more. Meanwhile Schwegler kids have no sidewalks on side streets and are expected to cross Iowa. The city removed the school zone and pedestrian crossing behind Cordley because there was too few pedestrians, but these too few pedestrians need a sidewalk. Does this seem right?

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Stuart Evans 4 years, 8 months ago

This is the way it should be. parents taking care of their children & citizens solving issues. This is a ZERO tax dollar expense. What else can we work out that will remove more government from our daily lives?

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EarthaKitt 4 years, 8 months ago

FYI: Busing = Carting kids to school Bussing = Kissing 5K= 3.1 miles

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deskboy04 4 years, 8 months ago

Why does the press box cost $270,000? I hadn't heard about that.

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storm 4 years, 8 months ago

There, there everyone, your children are going to walk, they'll get better at navigating streets, cars, lights, other pedestrians, and even ice. They'll prioritize what they should carry in backpacks so the load isn't so heavy. (And eventually learn how to pack one bag for an airplane flight.) Some might fall in a manhole while they're texting, and others with earbuds in their ears might not hear cars or even trucks and motorcycles, and a few with asthma induced by cold-air may have to use their inhaler more religously and even wear masks from the fumes of the cars, too. We all know worthless Wednesday are for childhood perps, so no change there. But really in the entire scheme of things, walking is a blessing.

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myvotecounts 4 years, 8 months ago

asonesign175 says "...about the $270,000 press box at LHS, that was a completely different budget and it has nothing to do with any of the money from or for bussing, and it is about time that LHS gets the equal amount/ quality of sports facilities as freestate."

You just said one of those things that makes my blood boil. If it's all public funds, it's all one budget. It's long past time to stop this fiction of justifying the spending of our tax dollars based on what "budget" it's going to come out of.

About this article...my problem starts with the headline, implying that it's a "problem" that kids don't get to ride the bus to school. The rest of my comments would substantially follow Seamus's, so I won't restate them.

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Joe Ryan 4 years, 8 months ago

Private citizens can make money with a half filled bus that the district with it's purchasing power can't. It appears that school budget cuts are designed more to upset the patrons than to save money so people will support more money for schools.

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Jacob Kucza 4 years, 8 months ago

Seamus--as much as I agree with you about children being obese and should have more physical activity in their lives, you've gotta realize times have changed. I strongly believe that kids should be active every day, but having kids cross busy intersections, more than once, several times during a trip to or from school is just asking for one of them to be run over. As much as we all think kids should grow up the way WE grew up, it just ain't happenin'. Get with the times.

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GardenMomma 4 years, 8 months ago

For being the child of someone who works in eduction, ("...think about all of the staff...my mom gets complaints every day") asonesign175 you sure have some terrible grammar.

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barrypenders 4 years, 8 months ago

Obama wants the fatties of the country to get control of their issues. Maybe bikes and music at 11am will head off the need for Obama's progressive demand.

I never ever believed those stories from the old people that said they walked to school five miles in the snow both ways,

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MissinLawrence 4 years, 8 months ago

asonesign175...suck it up.

you are not the only one in the world that had to walk from the side streets into schools. And why are you so scared of people in Lawrence! Everytime I complained about having to walk from 21st to the high school, my dad an alumni of LHS, would say "when LHS has 2,000+ students going to LHS, with a lot trying to park, then come complain to me"....basically my dad said SUCK IT UP. Learn to walk on ice and you wont have issues.

Good for these parents for showing options for other neighborhoods. This shows with a little thinking, anything is possible. Change never happened with people resting on their bottoms.

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Zachary Stoltenberg 4 years, 8 months ago

lristh1230 you're an idiot. If you are paying a family member 10.00 a week to drop your kids off, times 32 weeks in a school year (4- 8 week quarters) you're paying 320.00 a year. These enterprising parents are only paying 200.00 a year which is the same as what they would have paid if no change had been made to the bus service to begin with. Get off your high horse and check your "fuzzy math" again.

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Paul R Getto 4 years, 8 months ago

"headdoctor (Anonymous) I am still trying to figure out how these schools are saving money by contracting a for profit company to run the buses." == It's always a trade-off. If the district doesn't use a leasing company, they have to maintain a fleet with a facility and staff, or send each bus to a private garage when it needs service or repair. I do think there is some merit in trying to work with the "T" to see if at least some children can be transported.

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BigPrune 4 years, 8 months ago

This is so flipping ridiculous. I am so tired of hearing the drama, day after day, month after month, year after year. I'm also sick of seeing the majority of our taxes getting flushed down the toilet. Different budget this, different budget that - when will they get their act together? The government in general - local, state and national is so flipping inefficient and corrupt.

Here's a no-brainer: Why doesn't the City of Lawrence with their $2.2 Million a year T-Bus (that surprisingly got voted for), why don't they bus these kids with all the empty busses the lumber around town? They let the KU students ride for free anyway. Why not give back to the community? Especially since the temporary KU students were essentially bribed (by getting free rides) to pass the extra tax for the T-Bus?

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Amy Heeter 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm with seamus on this one. The school district is not responsible for transporting kids to school. On another topic I read countless times about how people should not have children if they cannot afford them, The same applies to getting their kids to school. If you can't get your child to school without district funded transportation then don't have kids.

I walked to school every day of my life from K-12. Our parents never drove us not even during the big snows. Funny goings on when I was a kid we walked in groups with kids joining and dropping out when they reached their street. There was a vast range in ages for the group too. Older neighborhood kids walked with the younger ones related or not. We walked across busy streets and unmarked railroad tracks. We looked both ways before crossing, didn't take candy from strangers and walked directly to school and back home again. I don't recall anyone I knew ever being hit by a car, being overweight or missing school very often for being ill.

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mom_of_three 4 years, 8 months ago

I am glad I don't have to drop anyone off at South anymore. Traffic was bad enough last year. I can not imagine this year.

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Katara 4 years, 8 months ago

Seamus (Anonymous) says… By the way, I have daughters who were perfectly capable of walking 10 miles by their 5th birthday. It's fun to watch them run laps around the kids active in sports yet who never walk anywhere. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Yay for you!

I just had a recent conversation with a clinic director of a physical therapy clinic who was telling me about the increase in the number of children they see due to neck & back injuries from overloaded backpacks and he was very much of the opinion that increased time carrying them was not good at all.

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JHawker 4 years, 8 months ago

I am impressed by the innovation and action taken by parents in Lawrence who are seeking ways to transport children to and from their schools. I agree that Iowa and 23rd street are dangerous for children to be crossing at any time of day; however, has anyone considered how extremely dangerous it is for the children "walking" to Wakarusa School? These children are not crossing Iowa or 23rd, instead the only road they have to walk along is a 2 lane 55-mph county road. As there is a greater possibility for parents in town to create a walking school bus, pay for a 2-stop bus or increase crossing guards, these are not valid options for students at Wakarusa Valley and the city needs to have serious reconsideration when concerning transportation for children to and from the school on this dangerous high-speed road.

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asonesign175 4 years, 8 months ago

What do you mean not safe to start school earlier, I beg to differ I could drop my kids off before I go to WORK. And we would also be able to pick them up without disruption at WORK. That's what people have to do right now is WORK for a living, and I'm certainly not going to stand by and see the school suck more money out of us. It's time we parents stand up and say enough is enough instead of opening our walllets to them

dont complain to me, complain to the school district, they are the ones who set the time, they think it is better for the walkers to walk at a later time with less traffic

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asonesign175 4 years, 8 months ago

point is there is ice in the winter, it may not always be 2 inches, but it builds up when they dont put salt down, as for the the cramp-ons or YakTraks, who would spend money on that unless you lived on a glacier or iceberg? i am not saying walking is impossible i am saying it is dangerous during the winter and not a safe place to park any time, i dont think that Cramp-ons or Yaktraks are going to save your car from getting broken in to....if you are in the lot, you have at least safety, and peace of mind that you dont need to hire a body guard for your car, there are cameras

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Lori Nation 4 years, 8 months ago

What do you mean not safe to start school earlier, I beg to differ I could drop my kids off before I go to WORK. And we would also be able to pick them up without disruption at WORK. That's what people have to do right now is WORK for a living, and I'm certainly not going to stand by and see the school suck more money out of us. It's time we parents stand up and say enough is enough instead of opening our walllets to them.

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Seamus 4 years, 8 months ago

Also, I call B.S. on the "2 inches of ice for 4 months" statement. You don't live in Winnipeg, dude.

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Seamus 4 years, 8 months ago

I've heard everything now. Lawrence isn't that big of a city, so those students living in town should be able to walk to one of these schools. As far as ice is concerned, it's not that expensive (and is certainly much cheaper than even the insurance payment on a car) to buy cramp-ons or YakTraks to overcome the ice issue. Unless you live outside of the city, pretending that walking is impossible suggests moronic slothfulness.

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asonesign175 4 years, 8 months ago

another thing about the parking, it isnt safe, i parked there for 2 years and got broken into at least 5 times and threatened by a guy i called the cops on for trying to break in, that is why we need the parking, not just for being closer

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Marion Lynn 4 years, 8 months ago

50YearResident (Anonymous) says…

How far would the $270,000 press box at LHS go to keep busing kids or pay teachers?"

Marion writes:

Well, I dunno and that "completely different budget" biosolids that asonesign175 (Anonymous) wrote about is stuff and nonsense.

Why not ask "Rocky" Bracciano, The Shining Happy People of the school board and Landplan?

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asonesign175 4 years, 8 months ago

More complaints about there not being enough parking. As if a teenager is going to die if they can't park within 100 feet of their school!

we have less parking than last year and it is a lot worse when you have to walk on a sidewalk with 2 inches of ice on it for 4 months

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Seamus 4 years, 8 months ago

More complaints about there not being enough parking. As if a teenager is going to die if they can't park within 100 feet of their school!

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asonesign175 4 years, 8 months ago

lristh1230 "I would still like to see the school hours changed to an earlier start time instead of 8:45a.m."

they have the hours like that so that alot of the traffic is slowed down, rush hour is almost if not over and all highschools have started, it is safer to walk during that time

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asonesign175 4 years, 8 months ago

the distance for bussing is 2.5 miles, no kids will be walking more than that because the district created the boundaries so that they didnt have to provide bussing, because all kids that go to that school are either 1. live with in 2.5 miles or 2. they are transfer students that are drove in by their parents. if you think this is a problem just for the parents, think about all of the staff that get crap about the no bussing during pick up times after school, my mom gets complaints every day about how bad it is and that it was a terrible idea, the thing is that the staff at the schools dont have a vote, this was a higher level district desision that they had no control over.

about the $270,000 press box at LHS, that was a completely different budget and it has nothing to do with any of the money from or for bussing, and it is about time that LHS gets the equal amount/ quality of sports facilities as freestate. and if people would be excited about LHS getting new facilities and wouldnt had complained and made such a fuss about everything it would have already been done, and you would have less kids on the streets parking, half of the student parking lot is being used for construction materials, we have less parking than we did this last year if you have a problem about your community expanding, get out!

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Lori Nation 4 years, 8 months ago

So for 175 days of school they can get a bus for $1750.00?That comes down to $10.00 per day just to ride the bus.($100.00 per day to run the bus). First student said it cost them about $180.00 per day to run just 1 bus in Lawrence (so somewhat of a discount). They have 22 students signed up that's for $200.00 a year that's $4400.00. And the bus can carry up to 45 students that comes to $9000.00 so what's wrong with this picture????? Parents are getting ripped off from the PTA, and First Student!! ***I am so glad I can rely on family to take our girls for $10.00 a week. I would still like to see the school hours changed to an earlier start time instead of 8:45a.m.

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GardenMomma 4 years, 8 months ago

Agreed, and I think it was mentioned that the city or school district didn't want to put a crossing guard at those intersections because of safety reasons for the guard.

Just a point. I am all for walking to school and having crossing guards at those intersections.

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Seamus 4 years, 8 months ago

GardenMomma-- I agree with the points about safety. But it would ultimately be much cheaper to man these intersections with crossing guards than paying for a busing service or a lifetime of treatment for a child that gets diabetes due to a sedentary lifestyle. As a society, we never look at the bigger picture. We fret about predators yet our children are much more likely to be victims of metabolic disease or a car collision.

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GardenMomma 4 years, 8 months ago

Okay, the second grader's back pack isn't 20 lbs, but the fifth grader's is.

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GardenMomma 4 years, 8 months ago

That's true Seamus, that children walked far more than four miles before "utter car dependency" but then again, there were not nearly as many cars out there or ultra busy streets like 23rd and Iowa that the kids will need to cross. And back then, before "utter car dependency" drivers were not nearly as distracted by talking (or texting) on the cell phone or whatever.

And yes, if you are wondering, my kids WALK to school everyday, rain or shine and with 20 pound backpacks.

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Seamus 4 years, 8 months ago

By the way, I have daughters who were perfectly capable of walking 10 miles by their 5th birthday. It's fun to watch them run laps around the kids active in sports yet who never walk anywhere.

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Seamus 4 years, 8 months ago

Katara-- give me a frapping break, please. Before this oh-so-wonderful modern age of utter car dependency children walked more than 4 miles in a day, often carrying much heavier burdens. It's statements like yours that continue to foster the attitude that we must learn-- from an early age-- to be utterly dependent on motorized transportation. Considering the problems we have with childhood obesity and early-onset Type II diabetes, this sort of thing might actually be good for kids.

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justthefacts 4 years, 8 months ago

Bravo to these parents. Instead of whining and sitting back while doing it, they found a workable soloution that they were in control of, and did not involve others doing something for them. Way to show the true spirit of the frontier men and women that founded this state. For too long we've been encouraged to look to "the government" to fix our problems. And we have ended up with a system too big to be self-sustaining. As the population ages and decreases, as the spending/credit mess results in less cash being pumped into the financial system, as we are encouraged to pay later for everything we want now - these folks figured out a way to make what they want happen, on their own. Bravo.

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Katara 4 years, 8 months ago

Seamus (Anonymous) says… It's really awful that kids would be out walking. They're using their legs like suckers. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Do you really think that children ages 5-10 should be walking 4 miles a day? Do you think it is healthy for necks and backs for any child to be lugging a schoolbag that can weigh up to 20lbs during that walk or for even part of that walk?

Lack of exercise really isn't the issue here. Safety is. Drivers in Lawrence (and probably most cities) don't pay attention to pedestrians. The school bus did provide a safer option for children to get to schools.

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Seamus 4 years, 8 months ago

It's really awful that kids would be out walking. They're using their legs like suckers.

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headdoctor 4 years, 8 months ago

I am still trying to figure out how these schools are saving money by contracting a for profit company to run the buses.

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Katara 4 years, 8 months ago

To be fair, even though I think the school district really screwed over parents by eliminating the service, the main reason that this is a money maker for the PTA is that there are only 2 stops instead of 10 or 12.

It is a very good idea though and a win-win for most of the parents and the PTA.

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KSManimal 4 years, 8 months ago

The solution is for parents to band together and march on Topeka, insisting that our legislature uphold its constitutional obligation to provide adequate funding of public schools.

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50YearResident 4 years, 8 months ago

How far would the $270,000 press box at LHS go to keep busing kids or pay teachers?

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cowboy 4 years, 8 months ago

Which of the following are true A. The district is getting ripped off by the bus companies B. The district is so stupid they didn't realize they were making money off the bus transport of students C. all of they above

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