School Board decision on busing is unsafe

Posted: Sunday, August 01, 2004

I am a very concerned parent of a second grade student at Mendenhall River Community School. I have been told that there is going to be no bus service for our children this coming school year if we live within a mile and a half from the school. I think this is the most ridiculous and unsafe decision the School Board has made so far.

As an adult, would you park your car a mile and a half away from your job and walk no matter what the weather? I doubt it! This is what you are asking of our young children. I live on Aspen Avenue, where there are no sidewalks and the street is often not maintained in the winter until after the kids have already gone to school. Yet the School Board is cutting an extremely important need for our children: much-needed transportation! For a lot of people, there will be no option but to have their small children walk to and from school.

Parents have to work! This distance is too far! It would take my son a minimum of 40 minutes to walk this distance every day, one way, and who's to say nothing will happen on the way? In addition, by the time the kids got to school, they would be exhausted and wet. I don't see them functioning very well in the classroom environment after a walk like that. When a child is sick, the school usually doesn't call for at least a couple of hours to see where the child is, and during that time, we as parents would not even know if our children made it to school safely.

I see that they are still fighting for a new high school, and even more ridiculous, a parking garage for the high school! Yet the School Board is willing to let the youngest and the most vulnerable students go without transportation to and from school. I thought it was bad enough that the kindergarten buses were cut last year, but then again kindergarten is not mandatory grade in Alaska. Second grade is! There was an article in the paper not too long ago about Glacier Valley's bus routes and it was stated that any route along these bus routes could be deemed unsafe at some point in time in the winter, so they needed more time to evaluate the routes. So, if any of them can be deemed unsafe at some point in time, then why even consider it? They are putting a price tag on our children's safety. What is it going to take for them to see that this is the most unsafe way to save money.

Kristina Derr


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