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Lack of buses slows traffic
Students in the South-Western City Schools District are officially back-to-school. Already parents and drivers are officially fed up.
District administration knew, with the elimination of high school busing and expanded walk zones, traffic would be a problem when classes started.
“We just ask people to be patient,” said Deputy Superintendent Phil Warner at a recent school board meeting. “Traffic will be a problem for a while until drivers can get a routine going.”
Warner explained several police agencies have agreed to provide extra coverage around arrival and dismissal times.
Captain Steven Robinette, with the Grove City Division of Police, explained they have assigned a number of officers to patrol school zones and neighborhoods around the schools to monitor traffic.
“We will have a strict speed and aggressive driving enforcement policy,” Robinette noted.
The captain said officers recently met with school principals to discuss issues and concerns for this school year and to address possible solutions. The department has also asked its school resource officers and school liaison officers to work with district staff in identifying safety issues related to the traffic flow around the schools.
“We have worked with the school district to improve crosswalks around schools and in some cases, added crosswalks and sidewalks,” said Robinette. “We have purchased and will have in place additional signage to increase awareness of pedestrian crosswalks.”
Robinette also said the department is “flexible” in its patrols of the schools and they welcome safety suggestions from school staff, parents and students.
“We will evaluate the effectiveness of our plan and make modifications as necessary,” he said.
High school transportation was eliminated after the failure of the district’s 8.3-mill tax levy on Aug. 4. Nearly 6,200 students have lost busing services this school year and eight bus driver positions have been cut. The board of education made about $8 million in cuts for this school year. Eliminating high school busing accounts for about half of the funding cuts.
The board said if voters pass the new 7.4-mill operating levy in November, the district would bring back transportation services.
For walking safety tips, log onto www.grovecityohio.gov. For questions or concerns, contact the district at 801-3000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to transportation changes, Warner explained students and parents will see additional modifications.
The deputy superintendent said the school buildings open one hour before classes start and close one hour after classes end. This time would give staff the chance to arrive and hold time for detention after school.
The South-Western Career Academy is the exception as it offers adult classes in the evening that generates money for the district.
“There are many changes this school year and there are uncertainties,” said Warner. “Our core mission has not changed and that is how to best education our 21,000 students.”
Warner also reported to the board that enrollment for this school year is “comparable” to previous years, but the exact numbers are not figured yet.
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