I am writing with serious concerns about the recent transportation change discussions in . I am a Homestead parent with a child in second grade and another child entering full-day Kindergarten next year at Eastview. I reside in Columbia Station at the Wheatlands.
It has been brought to our attention that the Transportation Department has suspended bus service to the majority of kids living in our neighborhood. Any child within 1.5 miles of Homestead will now be a walker.
Any child living over 1.5 miles will still receive bus service. What does this mean for MANY Columbia Station families, mine included as we live 1.4 miles away from our school? Our kids will not get bussed to school, but kids who live 1/10 of a mile further WILL.
In order for my children to walk to Homestead, they would potentially have to cross over two fairly busy roads (Spinnaker and Barrington) and one very busy road (Hafenrichter).
This is certainly not a viable option. I will not place my children in harms way to help the school district save money. In fact, I think most of us can agree that should a child be hurt, or God forbid killed, walking over these busy roads, any savings the school district could have gained would certainly be "lost" in subsequent litigation.
Angie Smith from the transportation department confirmed to me via email that "we have looked at the streets in that area and believe that with the addition of a crossing guard, this route to school is safe for students." I wonder if Miss Smith has ever stood at the corner of Hafenrichter and Middlebury to see how fast the cars travel?
Does she realize that his intersection comes just after a "blind" corner and just after a very long railroad crossing? Does she expect us to believe that a crossing guard can actually control the flow of traffic there? Once again, this school district has proven that what looks on paper, doesn't always look good in reality.
Miss Smith also went on to blame the state of Illinois for this. I am not naive, I do understand that when the state cuts funds, something has to give. But does this "give" need to come at the price of our children's safety? And please Miss Smith, don't insult my intelligence. The state didn't decide to cancel my child's bus service, your department did.
Then to find out that the school district has somehow managed to come up with a 17.5 percent pay increase for the incoming superintendent? Is this some kind of sick joke? How many of us have received a 17.5 percent pay increase during these tough economic times? If the district can come up with this money, why can't they come up with the money to get our kids to school safely?
I realize that the school board and the people in charge of District 308 are faced with challenges every day. However, at some point COMMON SENSE must prevail. If anyone out there thinks that having our elementary-aged children walking over three busy roads to get to school makes sense, I have serious doubts that they are exercising any common sense at all.
This is not a matter of inconvenience. This is not a matter of personal preference. This is not a matter of "us vs. them." This is a matter of our children's safety and we ALL share in that responsibility!
At some point someone needs to stand up and say "hey, who is looking out for our children?!"
Missy Dziewiatkowski, Auora