District threatens to cut busing for Lincoln Village residents
Administrators in the South-Western City School District say transportation costs will take a hit, unless voters approve the 8.3-mill tax levy.
The proposed transportation cuts were discussed at the March 23 board of education meeting. If Issue 15 fails, district leaders said they would have to cut high school busing. The district also plans to expand walk zones at the elementary, intermediate and middle school levels.
Tim Cox, transportation supervisor for SWCS, explained that the state does not require school districts to provide busing for students that live within two miles of the school. The current policy for the district, on the elementary level, is one mile. Cox said that would be broadened.
Under the transportation cuts proposal, approximately 500 middle and intermediate school students would not receive transportation services with the expanded walk zones.
About 800 elementary school students would also be affected. According to the district, there are nearly 5,000 eligible high school bus riders; which does not include those with special needs.
Examples of the changes include:
Buckeye Woods Elementary
Cox estimated that if the levy fails, 99 Buckeye Woods students would become walkers. Administrators would expand the walk zone to include the Quail Creek apartments.
About 64 students at Harmon would lose transportation services. The extended zone includes the boundary north of the school in the October Ridge area. Administrators said they could cut more from that area, but did not feel comfortable asking elementary-aged students to cross Frank Road or Harrisburg Pike.
Darby Woods Elementary
At the elementary level, Darby Woods would see the greatest impact. Approximately 273 students could lose transportation services. The expanded walk zone would incorporate two large apartment complexes on Norton Road, the Winchester housing development and the Hardesty Heights condominiums. Some of the students would have to walk down Norton Road, which administrators said is a concern. There are sidewalks on Norton.
About 47 Hayes students would become walkers. The boundaries would extend to include Holton Run, Claybrook Crossing and Haughn Glen. Cox said Orders Road traffic is a concern.
There are currently four buses that transport students to Norton Middle School. That number would be reduced to one bus under the proposed cuts. Approximately 228 students would have to walk or find another method of transportation. The areas affected would be Lincoln Village North and Lincoln Village South.
Some of the students would have to cross West Broad Street and Rome-Hilliard Road.
Deputy Superintendent Phil Warner explained that these cuts have already been made, but if voters approve the tax levy, the board would reinstate the cut areas.
"Hopefully we can pass Issue 15 and this doesn't have to happen," said Board President Cathy Johnson.
Warner said over the next few weeks, administrators would "refine" the plan. He also said other committees would be recommending their cuts in April.
The deputy superintendent said safety is important to the district, but they have to make cuts.
"We want our kids to get to school and home safely," said Warner. "These services are needed and important, but we cannot afford them."
Nearly 14,000 students ride the bus this school year, though 18,000 are eligible. There are 159 buses on the road each school day, traveling a total of 12,958 miles daily.
The numbers in the proposed transportation cuts are not final.
^ back to top