FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Southwest Allen County Schools board voted in June to extend the “no transportation zones” for Homestead High School and Summit Middle School. The boundaries for students not eligible for bus service extends 1.5 miles around both schools. Board members said the change will save the district money, but parents are mainly concerned over safety.
“I’m all about a healthy lifestyle, but when it’s 7 o’clock in the morning, and it’s pitch dark, you’re going to have children walking down these busy streets and crossing busy intersections,” Kelly Harris, who has a daughter at Summit Middle School, said.
Administrators said at a public hearing meeting they had the last week of June parents suggested putting an officer or security guard at the intersection of Homestead and Aboite Center Roads during the morning rush, especially. Blum said that the district is highly considering that option. However, they said the bus service changes were necessary because the district has had cuts to its transportation fund, and board members want to decrease the possibility of deficit spending.
“We thought we would expand it because we now have sufficient trails and sidewalks for these two buildings…and for each route that is eliminated we can save $40 to 50 thousand dollars in operating expenses,” SACS board president, John Blum, said.
However, working parents are now left trying to find alternate transportation options for their children who often get out of school before they get off work. Harris said she will be able to take her daughter to school most days, but she’s sure problems will arise.
“If there’s a delay, I won’t be able to take her to school at 9 o’clock, so I’m not sure what I will do,” Harris said.
She also said that some neighborhood moms are looking into carpooling.
This is a three phase project. Administrators said they’ll see how the changes work with Homestead and Summit this year and then decide how to continue with Woodside Middle and Covington Elementary schools next school year.