Less than two weeks before school, parents finding alternate transportation

File photo

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Students will be heading back to the classroom in less than two weeks in Fort Wayne, but how they’ll get to school is changing for thousands of students. Bus routes and school start and end times were changed to deal with a $2.5 million transportation cut. Now, about 5,000 students will have to walk or find alternate transportation to school.

“I would quit my job before my kids would walk to school,” mother of two daughters Lisa Mignerey said. “There are just too many things in the world today that make it unsafe.”

Mignerey’s daughters are going into the Fourth Grade and Kindergarten at two different schools.

“We understand that this really shook up the world for a lot of people and again that’s why we wanted to give them many months to work out a plan and to find other options,” FWCS spokesperson Krista Stockman said.

Since the announcement, FWCS and the city have been working on ways to make the walk safer.

“We worked for what would be about eight months on this preparing and I think we have a good plan in place,” Public Safety Director Rusty York said.

The plan includes more officers out on the streets monitoring foot traffic, updated walkways and FWCS staff studying traffic patterns. But before the first day of school comes on August 11, you should have a plan in place for your child’s route to school. Things to consider are which streets to cross and which ones to avoid and when they should check in. The city is also bumping up the number of crossing guards across town by about a half-dozen, according to York.

“We also changed some corners that were not utilized really anymore,” York said. “There just weren’t really that many kids using them so we took those resources and put them at other locations.”

Another way to find transportation is to connect with other parents through the school.

“PTAs especially can be a meeting place so people can get to know each other and find others who live near them who they may know that they might be willing to share those kinds of duties,” Stockman said.

But Mignerey hasn’t found an alternate plan yet. Daycare doesn’t open early enough and the bus won’t pick her daughters up at their babysitter’s house, so come the first day of school Mignerey said she might just drive them herself.

“If I have to use a personal day I guess that’s my option, but other than that I only have two of those so to make sure my kids get to school safely I guess I’ll do what I have to do,” Mignerey said.

The other part of the plan up for approval includes changing the times students would go to school. The following is the plan for school start and end times, which will take effect in the 2015-2016 school year:

  • Elementary Schools: 8:20 a.m. – 2:55 p.m. (current: 8:55 a.m. – 3:30 p.m)
  • Middle Schools: 7:20 a.m. – 2:15 p.m. (current: 7:30 a.m. – 2:25 p.m.)
  • High Schools : 9:05 a.m. – 4:10 p.m. (current: 7:30 a.m. – 2:35 p.m.)

Stockman said bus routes not cut are changing too. Parents received a letter in the mail with new bus stops and times.

For more information on the busing routes or to see if your home falls within the No Transportation Zone click here.

 

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