School dazed

My kids haven’t even been back to school a week yet, and already I’m tired of having to ferry them there.

There no longer is bus service for kids who live within the magical 2.5-mile radius of their school, so folks like me have to find a way to get ’em there.

Now, don’t misunderstand. I know money’s tight. I know the elimination of bus service is good for the bottom line.

But I can’t help but take one look at the long line of cars waiting to drop off or pick up students and get a little … sad.

When first I heard the bus was going bye-bye, my pebble-sized brain wracked itself with options: car pool, walking, walking school bus (whatever the heck that is)? The bike commuter in me secretly hoped we could find a way to ride to school, but that fantasy didn’t last long.

First, a bit of history.

For two years, my daughter went to one elementary school. Before the start of her second-grade year, however, she was gerrymandered into another school because of crowding issues. We live almost exactly equidistant from the two schools — right at 2.47 miles.

Though we’ve come to appreciate the new school and are glad we’re there, the truth is that it’s a tougher commute. The old school is easily accessible from quiet neighborhood roads. The current one is across busy Sixth Street.

Public transportation isn’t a possibility.

I’ve thought about making the kids walk to school, but the best route is just under 2.5 miles. That’s a bit of a tough hike for my 8-year-old son. I’m sure he could do it — I’d say both my kids are on the active and fit side of the curve; we frequently go for longer walks or bike rides around the ’hood — but that 2.5-mile walk to school also is a 2.5-mile walk home. That’s … let’s see … um, er, carry the 1 … count the thumb … five miles round-trip.

OK, it’s not exactly the Bataan Death March, but it’s still a little on the long side. That’s 25 miles a week.

When I was in elementary school, in the happier, healthier ’70s, I walked a mile each way and thought it was long. (And, no, it wasn’t uphill both ways.) Then again, I was a fat kid. Go figure.

A five-mile round trip also is quite a time commitment that makes it implausible. (You’ll notice I’m not whining about what would be my own sorry lot in life. If I walked the kids to school, I’d have to add two legs a day, so I’d rack up 10 miles a day.)

I’ve thought about saddling up, too, but there isn’t a decent bike route I’d feel safe having them on. In addition to having to cross Sixth, they’d spend at least a few blocks on a major arterial street leading to Free State High. Traffic leading to and from FSHS can be a bit crazy, with inexperienced and sometimes lead-footed drivers. And that’s just the teachers.

There is exactly one bike lane between my house and the kids’ school, and it lasts about a block-and-a-half.

Even though I’m certain my kids COULD ride to school, I just don’t feel it’s safe for them to do so.

So I’m the proud member of a car pool, stuck driving kids to school every morning and picking them up every afternoon, all the while wracking my brain for a way out of this mess, but fearful there isn’t one.


rivercitymom 13 years, 3 months ago

Good for you for car poolin'!

The neighborhood school is a rare entity these days. It IS sad.

As the parent of older kids, I completely agree that its not a good idea to have them fight with FSHS traffic on bike or on foot. Ack! Now that's a scary part of town during school rush hour!

DOTDOT 13 years, 3 months ago

I got it!

Move .3 miles in the right direction, and they are back on the bus!

Seriously, though, I am sure you clocked it your self. Google had our last house 4 houses down the street from where we actually lived, and we had to have a special USD497 official clocker to come out and verify because we were exactly 2.5 miles from the gym door (the official clock destination) at Langston. Of course, they had to walk .4 miles closer to school to get to the actual bus stop. So the bus stop was only 2.1 miles from school, and the kids who lived down the block closer to it had to pay. Said bus had only about 10 kids on it on a busy day, but don't get me started on the logic of it all.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.