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Board to Discuss Adding Four Points to No-Bus List

The subdivision was initially overlooked because district officials were unaware that new sidewalks had been built, making it safe for kids to walk to Wheatlands Elementary.

Back in April, District 308 officials unveiled their to deal with shrinking transportation funds from the state. If you live within 1.5 miles of the school your child attends, and there’s a safe path for kids to walk, you won’t be getting bus service for the next school year.

District officials released a list of neighborhoods affected by the decision, determined by checking for safety hazards in the walking path. Areas without a safe walking route will still receive bus service, officials said – only those neighborhoods initially listed would lose it.

Which is why residents in the Four Points subdivision, near the Wheatlands Elementary School, were surprised when they received a postcard in the mail last week informing them that their kids will be walking to school next year. The postcards were sent in the first days of June, to the neighborhoods on the district’s list. But that list didn’t include Four Points.

Angie Smith, the district’s director of business services, said that Four Points was overlooked for a simple reason: officials thought that several key sidewalks were missing, when in fact they had been replaced. And with those new sidewalks in place, she said, Four Points kids now have a safe way to walk to school.

Smith said the repaired sidewalks were brought to her attention by a board member, and as soon as she was aware of it, she decided to add Four Points to the postcard list, so parents there knew about the change. She said she understands why residents were surprised.

“It would have been part of our original list in April if we had known,” she said.

The District 308 board will consider tonight whether to add Four Points to the list, during their regular meeting at . Smith said public comment is welcome on the issue.

Smith said she and her staff looked at other areas in town with safety improvements, and if hazards (as defined by the state) were still present, they kept the bus service running to those neighborhoods. But she emphasized that it’s an ongoing effort to determine the best use of the district’s diminishing transportation dollars.

“As much as possible, we’re treating everyone the same,” she said.

The Oswego School District is facing a cut of about $700,000 in state transportation funds, based on a change in the formula lawmakers use to reimburse school districts. While the district has bused students with safe walking paths within 1.5 miles of a school in the past, they are not, by law, obligated to do so.

Crossing guards will be provided to areas that need it most, Smith said, and determining those areas will be an ongoing process as well. Suggestions from parents, she said, are welcome.

The District 308 board will meet at the Oswego East High School community room, at 1525 Harvey Road, at 7 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.

Walt Hines June 25, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Guest would you please clarify where you received your info regarding Teachers and Coaches driving their players to events. My nephew plays football and there's over 100 kids for varsity this year so it would be impossible for all these players to be driven by car. Mr. Ken Pickerell has purchased many tractors for OHS throughout the years, not to forget he was the one who funded the stadium, Ken Pickerell stadium. ( I do hope I have spelled his last name correctly, what a generous person he and his wife have been!)
Shawn June 25, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Martin. As I understand it, there will be sidewalks provided to get kids from LV to Bednarcik/Wolfs. As to the private property, not from the curb to so many feet in. That belongs to the Gov. as it is an easement that exists for just such things. As to the corner, I believe that they are going to time the lights better to let kids cross. I personally hope that they move the 20MPH flashing lights farther east so that cars will slow down during the busy times around school walk times. As to kids walking? I did it when I was young and it didn't hurt me. And yes, I had to cross a 4 lane road that was busy through the middle of my home town. And I'm still here to talk about it. Actually, it was always good to walk with friends. Those were happier days!
Guest June 26, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Walt...My apologies for not providing more details. If you look on the district 308 website and go to BoardDoc and under meetings select the agenda for May 7th, Action item 8.4 has both the Power Point presentation and the recorded board meeting. Of course the presentation does not have the details, but I seem to recall Angie Smith mentioning in the recording the advantage with purchasing 14 passenger buses is that teachers/coaches would be able to drive their players. I was not specifically referring to football. It applies more to the smaller clubs throughout the district. I also recall one of the board members asking why purchase 14 passenger buses? The answer from Angie Smith was, "it's the largest bus that can be purchased and driven that does not require a special licences".
JasC June 26, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Happier days and safer times, might I add. To make an 6-10 year old walk to school by themselves seems unsafe, unless they appoint guards at the intersection of Kautz and Ellington and other major streets to make sure they do not get lost or worse. There is no sign on Kautz that makes drivers heading to the Oswego area cautious of school children who may be crossing the street to get to the path designated to walk to school. We have people who cut through that area at times without slowing down at times to see if anyone is there. I should know, I see it every day since the intersection faces my home.
Loreta J. June 26, 2012 at 08:33 PM
I guess I don't understand where many people commenting on here think that their child now has to walk by themselves to school. For those with kids in that age group (kindergarten) or as someone else mentioned, age 6-10, I'm sure you don't leave them home alone now to get on the bus all by themselves..so whether you wait with them at the bus stop or drive them, or walk WITH them, they are still not going it alone. I'm not saying that it doesn't stink to lose bus service, but this is the reality and it doesn't have to be as bad as everyone is making it out to be. Change is hard and inconvenient, but it's not the demise of Oswego schools or our kids.

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