Oswego board sticks to plan to cut number of bus routes
BY ERIKA WURST firstname.lastname@example.org June 26, 2012 1:58PM
Four Oswego school buses will be outfitted with WiFi Internet access after spring break. | Sun-Times Media File
Updated: July 28, 2012 6:21AM
OSWEGO — Last school year, Monika Kelly’s Four Pointes Subdivision was a busing zone.
Unfinished sidewalks throughout the neighborhood made the route to The Wheatlands Elementary School a hazard for young walkers, so the subdivision’s 66 students made the 1.4-mile trip to the school by bus.
Now, the sidewalks are fixed and — despite several busy intersections — the route is no longer considered a hazard.
But Kelly, a mother of three, doesn’t see it that way.
When she found out that her neighborhood had been added to the Oswego School District’s list of areas that would no longer receive bus service, she was furious.
“I would strongly encourage you to reconsider your decision and bus our children to their school,” she told Oswego School Board members this week. “My home is 1.4 miles from our school, which is just barely shy of meeting the 1.5-mile requirement.”
If the district were to bus the students, the cost would fall totally onto the district, board member Bill Walsh explained. It would also mean breaking precedent, as 1.5 miles is required for busing in order to be reimbursed by the state.
Kelly asked that board members go out to the site and view several intersections for themselves before making a decision.
She asked if the district would send crossing guards to staff several intersections with no stop signs.
“As a parent and a taxpayer, I am disappointed in the decision to make our community a walking area,” she said. “I am incredibly concerned about the safety of what would be our young walkers.”
She asked that the district to send at least one bus to safely transport the students.
Board members stuck to their guns, however, approving Four Pointes as a walking area. They said that future research would be done to determine whether crossing guards are necessary.
Board member said that Hafenrichter Road at Barrington Drive is manned by a crossing guard because of busy traffic, and that might very well be the case with Kelly’s proposed intersections.
Walsh said the board will be updated soon on the issue, but the decision to not bus students will not change.
“It’s consistent with all of the other areas,” he said.