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Muskego-Norway students could have longer walk to bus

Students could have to walk a quarter mile for ride

May 8, 2012

Muskego - A revised transportation policy that says elementary students can be expected to walk up to a quarter of a mile to a school bus stop was approved Monday by the Muskego-Norway School Board.

But the policy also says that elementary children will be picked up closer than that whenever practicable.

That word "practicable" disturbed board member Eric Schroeder who said he would rather have the policy say where possible elementary students will be picked up closer to home.

"I wonder if we are giving the bus company too much latitude," he said. "To them what might be practicable is different than to the parent of an elementary student."

Although agreeing with his point, Superintendent Joe Schroeder said that having the policy say closer pickups where possible is pretty much pickups at the door.

In the past, the schools have been sensitive to the needs of parents and made adjustments, said board member Dean Strom.

Routes subject to change

Schroeder dropped his objection but said the schools should be particularly watchful during the first week as to how things are going. And he said, the bus company should be prepared for route changes.

The policy also includes having middle and high school students walking a quarter of a mile to a common bus stop, or longer, if they live on a cul-de-sac.

Buses will not go into cul-de-sacs less than a quarter-mile long to pick up middle or high school students. They will have to walk to a common bus stop.

In the original revision, buses were not going to go into these shorter cul-de-sacs even to pick up kindergartners. But that has been dropped and only the older students will have to go to a common bus stop.

Also, buses will not enter cul-de-sacs or dead-end roads so narrow that the buses would have to back up to turn around to get out. Numerous national school bus safety organizations recommend against school buses backing up, Scot Ecker, director of business services, wrote in a memo to the board.

New company, new savings

The new policy saves some money, Schroeder said, although the schools scored really significant savings this year when they switched bus companies. Much of the new policy had been past practices, but was not always adhered to, he said.

Some board members wanted to incorporate arrangements for co-curricular busing in the new policy. But Ecker advised against that. Because some things still need to be worked out with that, Ecker recommended approving the transportation policy first. Then the board can provide guidance to the administration regarding what it wants in a co-curricular busing policy, Ecker wrote.

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