Busless in Bayless: Concerned parent calls News 4 for answers - KMOV.com

Busless in Bayless: Concerned parent calls News 4 for answers

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

We got an email from a concerned parent who is worried about his children's safety after the Bayless School District put the permanent brakes on buses to help balance the budget.  That means none of the 1,600 students in the district have transportation.

As News 4's Maggie Crane found out, it's causing a headache for both parents and drivers.

Unlike any other district in the county, major thoroughfare Weber Road cuts the campus in half, meaning many students have to cross these busy streets.  It's all to save about a quarter of a million of your tax dollars, but some fear it comes at the cost of kids' safety.

Frustrated parents tell News 4 they waited nearly an hour to get their students.

Thomas Newman contacted News 4 after he couldn't find his third-grader yesterday afternoon.

"There are 500 people out there," Newman says.

"And you want to make sure that she's going to the right person," News 4 Reporter Maggie Crane says.

"Yes, the right person.  She's a foster child.  She's not supposed to be going with certain people," Newman explains.  "If those people show up and she says hey there's mommy and daddy, then she goes."

Parents and neighbors say the problem started when the busing stopped and cars started crowding into every surrounding street.

"I had an accident earlier last week because I couldn't get out of my driveway and I backed into somebody," James Sitzes says.

Sitzes says he has to plan errands around school arrival and dismissal times because it will take him more than an hour to get to his own street otherwise.

Teachers too are concerned.  They're  responsible for taking kids to their parents.  They've been told not to talk, so their union rep called me to speak on their behalf.

Kari Estes/National Education Association 18:02 - 18:08
"There are so many kids going so many different directions, they can't possibly keep control of that many kids," Kari Estes of the National Education Association says.  "They're worried about the liability to them personally if something should happen to the kids."

So we took those concerns to the district.

"How do you ensure that the right child is going with the right parent?" Maggie Crane asks Chief Financial Officer John Stewart.

"That's one of the reasons we have the teachers do that," Stewart says.  "They know their students and they know the families -- for the most part."

"For the most part?  Has that been a bigger concern this year?" Maggie Crane asks.

"We haven't had any issues with that so far," Stewart says.

The district hired four crossing guards, and county police tell News 4 that that they help out when they can.

News 4 found out that the solution to the problem is slow-going.  Right now the district is waiting for both the state and the county to approve a plan to move traffic away from busy streets, routing cars behind the school -- making it safer for kids and their parents.  The best case scenario is that it will be finished over the winter holiday.

Maggie Crane is a reporter at News 4.  To contact her, email mcrane@kmov.com

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