District 308 staff will take another look at some of the street crossings in the Four Pointes subdivision this week. But barring any changes, students there who live within 1.5 miles of the Wheatlands Elementary School will walk to class next year.
Four Pointes in Aurora was officially added Monday night to the list of areas within 1.5 miles of a school that will not receive bus service next year. That list was initially drafted in April, as the district struggled with ways to overcome a cut of about $700,000 in state transportation funds next year.
The main criteria, according to Angie Smith, the district’s director of business services, was that the students have a safe way to walk to school. If there are safety hazards in their walking path, she said, bus service will continue.
Smith said that Four Pointes was initially 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 Pointes kids now have a safe way to walk to school.
But Four Pointes resident Monika Kelly, mother of three Wheatlands students, said it may not be safe enough. She lives 1.4 miles from the school, she said, and was the only resident to address the District 308 board Monday night. She listed off four intersections where her children would have to cross the street. Two of them have no stop signs, she said, and one has a sign in one direction.
The fourth, Ellington Lane and Keating Drive, has a four-way stop, she said, but it is a heavily-traveled area, since drivers use those roads as a cut-through to Ogden Avenue. While crossing guards will be provided at many intersections, according to Smith, no concrete plan for stationing those guards has been drafted.
“I ask you to send at least one bus to bring our children to school as safely as possible,” Kelly said.
Board members asked Transportation Coordinator Brandy Kackert if the streets in Four Pointes were comparable to others that will not receive busing. She said that in some cases, they are safer – the speed limit in Aurora subdivisions is 25 miles per hour, where it is 35 in some Oswego neighborhoods, and the Keating and Ellington intersection has a four-way stop, unlike some similarly-traveled sections in other areas, she said.
At the request of the board, Kackert said she would head back out to Four Pointes this week and take another look. But the board agreed to add the subdivision to the list, barring any new information.
“It sounds like it’s consistent with other areas throughout the district,” Board President Bill Walsh said.
District 308 released its initial list of areas that will lose bus service in April. That list is on the district website here.