Local

Katy bus routes still up in the air

Monday, August 20, 2012
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katy, local

A dispute over bus routes in Katy could be coming to a resolution just days before kids head back to school. The concern over some children's walk to school has caused Katy ISD to reevaluate their bus routes once again for the upcoming school year.

But not all parents are happy with the progress made so far. They say more needs to be done in order to make sure all children have a bus to pick them up.

"The closest way, which is a radius, will take her through a creek," said parent Jennifer Skelton.

With Katy ISD students headed back to class in a week, Skelton is one of dozens of parents who are not sure how their child is going to get to and from school every day. The uncertainty stems from Katy ISD having to get rid of numerous bus routes because of a shortage of drivers.

Skelton says the busy streets her daughter will be walking are too dangerous.

She said, "Right now what she will have to do to avoid the creek is come up Red River, then go out to Kingland, which has no sidewalks. It's about a two and a half miles."

According to Katy ISD, they're 53 drivers short this year compared to last year. This has forced them to cut their bus routes from 388 last year to 335 this year.

Steve Stanford with the district says they're in the process of reviewing the routes where kids will be forced to walk if they can't be dropped off by their parents. Many parents have complained the shortest route takes their child though bayous like the one near Mason and Peek roads.

"We actually have people going out to the street to the neighborhood to actually physically go out there and observe, walk it, look and see what the hazards are, see what the parents' concerns are," Stanford said.

The students affected by the bus routes live within a mile radius of their school. The district says after reviewing some of the routes, they have reinstated four of them. For some parents it's a relief.

"Any parent, if you know the conditions are hazardous for your kids to walk, don't give up. You keep fighting," said parent Shannon Cantrell.

But for others like Skelton, she says she would also like to have peace of mind knowing her daughter has a safe way to get to school.

"I've got a few days worked out where I will be able to come pick her up, but the other days, we're just praying that they change it before next Monday," Skelton said.

Katy ISD says the main reason behind the changes to the bus routes is because of a shortage of drivers. This Friday they are holding a job fair to find qualified drivers. But the district says it's still a long process to get certified.

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Tags:
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