Sunday, August 10, 2003

Lakota shifting school bus pickups

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

LIBERTY TWP. - Fewer Lakota school buses will be making stops in cul-de-sacs or dead-end streets this year.

Transportation Director Michael Rosenberger said 500 to 800 of the 1,000 pickup spots within cul-de-sacs are being moved.

Buses will only travel down cul-de-sacs to pick up children for safety reasons, for midday kindergarten routes or for children with special needs.

"That's always been our policy," said Jon Weidlich, district spokesman. "That's how we got to this point - parents appealing the policy."

Letters from Rosenberger will be included in informational packets mailed to parents, beginning next week. But parents won't know their children's exact bus stop until they receive bus passes that will be mailed Aug. 15. Routes and specific stops will be posted at each school beginning Aug. 15.

About 16,000 students will be bused to public and private schools this year, up from 15,750 a year ago, Rosenberger said. The district has 185 routes, up six from last year.

The reason the changes are being made are many, Rosenberger said, including wear and tear on the buses, difficulty of maneuvering long buses, and insurance rates that tripled from last year, largely due to accidents in cul-de-sacs.

Last year six mailboxes and two parked cars were hit by buses, causing between $30,000 and $35,000 in damages, Rosenberger said.

Union Elementary School Principal Robert Winterberger e-mailed the letter to parents whose e-mails he had in a database. So far, he hasn't received any calls.

"It's a transition, a change. I would expect to get some questions once the mailing goes out."


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