Archive for Thursday, July 2, 2009

Parents to consider walking school bus

Parents are planning on walking kids to school now that Lawrence schools have limited school bus availability.

July 2, 2009


After the Lawrence public schools made budget cuts that included bus rides for children who live within 2.5 miles of their school, the idea of a walking bus was broached by special operations director Rick Gammill.

Interested parents can attend a walking school bus volunteer coordinator training for the Kansas City metro area from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Nutter Ivanhoe Neighborhood Center, 3700 Woodland, Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas participants will be eligible to receive stipends and ongoing coaching assistance from Bridging the Gap, a Kansas City group that works to connect the environment, economy and the community.

Bridging the Gap will offer other training opportunities in July. For more information, log on to Call Steve Petrehn to make reservations at 816-561-1087, ext. 111.

Some Lawrence parents are planning a walking bus information session at 6 p.m. Wednesday during the LiveWell Lawrence World’s Largest Community Workout at Shenk Fields, 23rd and Iowa streets.


Robert Rauktis 8 years, 10 months ago

Now they are coaching WALKING?!?! Does Lew Perkins know about this?

phera 8 years, 10 months ago

At its heart, a walking school bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. That may sound simple, and that is part of the appeal. It can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their children to school or as structured as a planned route with meeting points, a timetable and a schedule of trained volunteers.

We are looking for parents and community volunteers who are interested in helping us get Lawrence's walking school buses in motion.

We will only have information before and after the community workout, not during it as stated in the article.

Want to get involved? We have a Facebook group you can join at

BigPrune 8 years, 10 months ago

Kind of like the Flintstones without the stone car or bus.

Kat Christian 8 years, 10 months ago

Wow I just thought of this idea: Please pass this on to those folks that will not have busing for their children this coming school year. Why not coordinate a 'walking school bus'? Designate a corner and a time for a meeting place where the children can meet. There can be one (maybe 2 adults-depending on the amount of kids) to walk and supervise the children's safety and they can alternate (parents who do not have an outside job can take turns). That way the children aren't walking to school alone, there is an adult to help them get safely across any busy streets. Then in reverse the children could meet at a designated place after school where the parent can be there to walk back with them. The changing weather is not going to kill them (unless it is a bad storm of course) - heck I walked to school as a youngster way over 2 miles when I was in elementary school and had to cross one of the busyist street which didn't have a traffic light. (My sister and I use to shake all the trees after it rained so by the time we got home wer were soaking wet. Ah good memories. Besides there are raincoats, boots and umbrellas to help. It will be good for them - teach them to appreciate what they have. Plus the walking will be healthy for them and so will the fresh air. In any case I thought this would be a good idea, especially for parents who wouldn't be able to drive their children to school or from school because of job commitments. Of course other arrangements by the parents could be made for afterschool care and such. Perhaps the parents could get together and take up a collection to pay the walking parent so each week there would be a different parent who will get paid. Hope this helps.

avoice 8 years, 10 months ago

Participants will be eligible to receive stipends. So, the school district doesn't have enough tax money to run buses, but this group in K.C. has enough tax money (as a nonprofit working off of a grant) to pay people to walk a group of kids to school. A group that can be just your own kids and the next-door neighbor's kids. Rob Peter, pay Paul. Repeat.

beatrice 8 years, 10 months ago

There is no such thing as a "walking schoolbus." There are schoolbuses, and there is walking. "Walking schoolbus" is nothing more than a PC term made up to calm the outrage of telling parents that their kids must walk to school and a real bus will not be giving them a ride.

I wonder how many of these walkers will be passed by actual buses on their way to school each day.

What will school districts offer next, "foodless lunches"?

aldo 8 years, 10 months ago

Growing up in O.P, KS, we walked 1 mile to grade school. It was a straight shot and we lived the farthest. Starting in first grade, my mom walked us to the end of the first block, another mom or dad met us with kids from that neighborhood and, at the second block, my mom "handed us off" to Mom #2 (who by the way had the same disciplanary rights as my own!) ... Mom 2 handed off the growing gaggle of grade schoolers to Parent 3, a block at a time ... at the end of 12 blocks, we were at school and there was no burden on anyone and we were protected every step of the way. The idea of a "stipend" is ridiculous and wasteful ... forget about it ... what kind of entitlement thought is this anyway ?

Confrontation 8 years, 10 months ago

I'm afraid this won't work. Today's children just might melt under the pressure of all that physical exercise and outdoor time. What will they do without the assistance of a Wii or an Xbox?

oneclassicgirl 8 years, 10 months ago

This is a great opportunity to suggest another option... use the T. As a student you get the 'reduced fare' bus pass and it is significantly cheaper than the district provided school bus. It supports a good public transportation option and the drivers are excellent in helping our youth find their stops. My child uses the T and loves it.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

Walking,biking and the T sound quite logical. These means of travel have been around for awhile.

Bicycles last a lifetime and beyond.

Drivers all this walking and biking is saving tax dollars so slow down,pay attention and be part of the solution.

The more cars the T takes off the road the less road abuse and dollars spent on asphalt.

KansasVoter 8 years, 10 months ago

A "walking school bus"? That is one of the dumbest ideas that I've ever heard.

ralphralph 8 years, 10 months ago

A stipend for walking to school? OMG! I'll pitch in some free coaching: TOPIC: HOW TO WALK TO SCHOOL. Step 1 - put one foot in front of the other; Step 2 - repeat Step 1 as needed until you are at school.
Next week's lesson: HOW TO LOOK BOTH WAYS.

dlkrm 8 years, 10 months ago

Further proof we are surrounded by idiots in Lawrence. What's with these parents not wanting to get their kids to school? I went to Shawnee Mission Schools, and you had to live at least 2.5 miles from school to get a bus ride. Less than that, a ride from your parent, someone else's parent, bike, or walk. What in the hell is the matter with people?

imastinker 8 years, 10 months ago

I wonder why parents within 2.5 miles of school don't get to have kids that ride the bus? Do they somehow not pay the taxes that pay for said buses?

Kirk Larson 8 years, 10 months ago

Heck, i walked 20 miles to school, uphill both ways, in the dark, on my knees, fighting off wolves and injuns...

Seriously, I walked a mile or two when I went to elementary school. The worst was when they tried year-round daylight savings and it was pitch black in the winter mornings. Otherwise, I was OK with it. My folks drove me a few times when it was raining, but I was actually embarrassed to be dropped off as kids often are. Let 'em walk, it's good for 'em. The walking bus is not a bad idea.

GardenMomma 8 years, 10 months ago

Hmmm, what'll happen to the walking bus when it's 15 degrees outside and raining/snowing/sleeting or this August when it's 95 degrees out? My guess is they'll carpool.

Wait! Wasn't getting together to carpool one of the very first suggestions when the thing started? I do think it was! Wow, go figure.

Now, can we quit the complaining -- please!

sandersen 8 years, 10 months ago

Children in the early elementary grades are not allowed to ride bikes or scooters to and from school due to school rules. There are few people who are able or willing to transport other peoples' children regularly, due to liability issues as well as space constraints in vehicles.

In a city with as much traffic as Lawrence, 2.49 miles is too far for a young child to walk to and from school. Far too many two-income families are unable to attempt to drop off/pick up children without fear of losing their jobs. It's already beyond challenging to get accomodations on scheduling at most jobs even to pick up a sick child at school, let alone to ask for flexibility for transport your kids daily... not to mention the Wednesday schedule ordeal!

My family paid for bus service. I am at a loss as to why a decision that had such drastic safety and logistical issues for our children got so little discussion prior to impacting our community.

labmonkey 8 years, 10 months ago

So children get some much needed exercise under the supervision of parents? And some of the people I see here complaining are the same who swallow the global warming BS... So I ask, what is so bad here?

sandersen 8 years, 10 months ago

I work to support 5 children. I pay for a bus to take 4 of 5 said children to school daily. They are too g-dmned young to walk this far to school across extremely busy intersections and not allowed by regulation to ride bikes or scooters to school. What the hell is there to understand????? All you majorly conservative types- I PAID for this service!!!! It allowed for both of us to work.

How many kids and what ages are they, labmonkey, that are your supported offspring enrolled in USD 497 schools?

Just curious. Because if you do not have children in school, all else becomes BS and hyperbole.

sandersen 8 years, 10 months ago

By the way, monkey, my children are athletes and scholars, and my kids are never going to become statistics due to your lack of ability to distinguish between right and wrong.

You want to put your 5 year old child out on the street to walk nearly 3 miles? Be my guest, although my sympathies lay with your offspring and not you at this point...

Dayna Lee 8 years, 10 months ago

I live in a neighborhood where kids have been hit by cars. I understand budget cuts and blah, blah, blah. This story sounds a lot like someone wanting a job. Ideas like this need to be worked out on your block or at your school. I have gladly taken kids home that are not my own. It never hurts to ask about car pooling. And yes, my girls are princesses and they will melt in the rain and God bless 'em freeze in the snow. I'm going to have to say that kids too young to ride their bikes to school are too young to walk to school too! Did you know you have to be in 3rd grade to ride a bike???

Fort_Aubrey 8 years, 10 months ago

Sanderson, most school districts in this state long ago eliminated bus services for those < 2.5 miles. The state gives no financial support for this busing, and no, the fees you paid did not fully reimburse the district for this service. i.e. you did not fully pay for it. Lawrence has been living a charmed life in this regard. The economy is obviously stressing all government budgets.

The people attempting here to educate some parents to promote this response are doing something about it rather than complaining. They should be complimented and supported. Any stipends they are talking about are pennies on the former dollars.

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