School bus service becomes latest budget cut casualty

Clayton parents were informed at the last minute that students living less than a mile and a half away from their assigned school must walk unless the area is deemed hazardous, leaving no opportunity to protest and little time to determine the safest route for their child to walk.

Parents have legitimate concerns. There are plenty of older neighborhoods without sidewalks, forcing pedestrians into the street. I live off of a major two-lane road with a 2-3 mile stretch from a Tara Boulevard stoplight to the next stop sign, which means any kid crossing in between does so at their own risk. Drivers on that road are very aggressive (especially during the morning rush) and little leeway is offered to anyone attempting to cross.

Water drainage is also an issue making it difficult to drive, much less walk, in some areas, and with daylight savings time on the horizon, it will soon get dark earlier.

While this transportation policy may have already been in place, it had not been enforced. CCPS is encouraging parents to let the Transportation Department know of any issues or concerns on their child’s route to school by calling 770.473.2819.

And the good news is, they are working with parents to make sure kids get to school safely. “As we’ve received calls we have readjusted bus routes, so there would be a longer ride in some instances for children,” says CCPS Chief Operations Officer Cephus Jackson. “Parents have made us aware of situations that we weren’t aware of before.”

Does your child have a safe route to walk to school?

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Nobody can deny the benefits of walking. Hey, most of us walked to school and survived, right? Personally, I’d rather see bus service cut than anything related to the classroom.

Your thoughts? Parents, what are your concerns about the route your child would walk in order to get to school? Has the Transportation Department helped to get your child on a new route?

39 comments Add your comment

whatever

August 11th, 2010
3:44 pm

As a kid I walked 3/4 of a mile to school every morning and afternoon and sometimes home for lunch and back. (before most school had a hot lunch program.) BUT what we had that you rarely find in the South was sidewalks. And neighborhood schools in quiet neighborhoods.We did not have to cross busy roads and highways. Not the case in Clayton County. All it is going to take is one child badly injured or fatally injured by either a car from having to walk in the street. or bitten by a poisonous snake because they are walking in the unmowed grass alongside the road. Then the parents will sue the School District for wrongful injury or wrongful death And WIN Millions of Dollars. Pound wise, but penny foolish.

personal responsibility

August 11th, 2010
4:35 pm

I am all for kids walking to school, for no other reason than it will force them to get the exercise this generation of kids doesn’t get plugged into their TV and computers. One of the challenges in clayton county is our prior adminstrations did not require developers to build sidewalks in subdivisions, or put them on county roads.

Still sidewalks re not, growing up in the 70s out west, our school system did away with busing completely due to budget cuts and suprise! everyone made it to school without a problem. How long take to travel a mile, mile and 1/2 – less than 5 minutes? Drop them off on the way to work, or carpool. Not everything is the responsibility of the goverment.

Clayton parent

August 11th, 2010
4:58 pm

This has been a good thing for my son. He has to get up and out early enough to walk to school now tee hee hee. I’ll probably drive him when he run late sometimes or when its entirely too hot or cold for him to walk it, but this will be a good thing for my kid.

Borodawg

August 11th, 2010
7:46 pm

Why did they wait to “hear concerns from parents”? Why not ask the bus drivers which routes would be too dangerous?

I’m all for kids walking….IF there are sidewalks and crosswalks.

I pass Suder Elementary sometimes and there are a LOT of cars waiting to get in to pick up or drop off the kids; while the buses appear to be only half occupied. At that school, there doesn’t appear to be a very heavy ridership.

Mr.SouthMetroAtlanta

August 11th, 2010
7:55 pm

“Whatever” you said a mouthful there – and it’s the truth. As kids many of us used to walk to school but that was yesteryear. These days there are so many pedophiles, wild animals and crazy people distracted by cell phones that put the kids at risk like never before. What’s the plan on days when it’s raining very hard or on very cold mornings when it’s still pitch black outside? Clayton County School System should have studied this issue more and got the parents involved before making a decision like this. Not good leadership on this one!

BnB

August 11th, 2010
10:03 pm

This decision will not last.

My Perspective

August 12th, 2010
5:01 am

I think that walking is a good thing and I walk my kids, if it rains I will drive them. My only problem with this is the smaller kids whose parents have to be at work extremely early and cannot drop their kids off on the way to work because the schools do not accept kids before a certain time.

Roach

August 12th, 2010
9:08 am

Personal: travel a mile and a half on foot in 5 minutes?? Carrying or even rolling one of those monster bookbags?? Not so long ago, the 4 minute mile was an impossible dream for elite middle distance runners in shorts and sneakers and without traffic lights, thoughtless drivers, or any otehr obstacles. You sure wouldn’t want an algebra test waiting at the other end. 1.5 miles in 5 minutes means a mile in 3:20. If your child can deliver that pace for 1.5 miles over Clayton County streets, there is an athletic scholarship waiting for him or her.

Hampton Place

August 12th, 2010
9:25 am

I guess parents should start being active in their child’s education. If they would have attended the budget school board meetings this information this was discussed. What happened to pre planning and calling the school ahead of time to inquire about what time the bus comes, this is something that should not have waited until school started? In most areas that were affected by this sidewalks were installed last year. But bottom line this has been an ongoing battle when I was in school in Clayton County in the mid-90’s. I am tired of people just sitting back and complaining and not getting out there and doing something about it. “WORDS WITHOUT WORKS = NO RESULTS”, if you want to see results get involved. Hell you can start with your child’s school PTA……

Synamonsays!

August 12th, 2010
10:36 am

Who will protect the children? This is one decision that puts our children at risk. No sidewalks and dark mornings. When daylight saving time starts, what then? Parents, students and community stakeholders stand up and protest this asinine decision.

Yes children need exercise and parents must be more involved. Perhaps this is the catalyst to make it happen. This decision needs to be revisited before we suffer a tragedy . BOE go back to work and save our children!

Borodawg

August 12th, 2010
11:19 am

Time for another “study” by some outside agency. It’s only money.

Meanwhile, back at the Central Office…all is well.

I think the salient point here is that it was at last minute decision. Last-minute, knee-jerk decisions are rarely the correct decisions.

Clayton Parent

August 12th, 2010
1:06 pm

Hampton Place,
I attended the meetings, but don’t recall any discussion about cutting transprotation for students residing less than a mile and a half was not discussed at the meetings. However, they did discuss transporation cuts for students attending Charter Schools. But, I definitely agree with you. It makes no sense that parents were not proactive in getting information about the bus schedules. What’s even worse is the public meetings held to get public input about the budget were poorly attended. Some parents are quick to complain, but will not offer any solutions or get involved.

Mrs. Smith

August 12th, 2010
1:54 pm

The problem I have and what should be a concern of the community is the number of small children out walking with no adult supervision in a day and time when crimes against children (child molestations, child abductions, rape, dangerous dog attacks, etc) are in abundance. We all understand parents HAVE to work, many downtown Atlanta or further commutes and cannot afford after school care. I think we have to cut the budget somewhere else. If just one child was hurt or came up missing we would all feel terribly responsible and ashamed we allowed this to go forth to save a buck.

Mrs. Smith

August 12th, 2010
1:55 pm

Enter your comments here

19&41

August 12th, 2010
3:05 pm

Do all the rapists, kidnappers, mad dogs and all the other horrors of modern life wait until school start start getting their child fix fulfilled only after school starts? I work late hours and have seen many young children on the streets after midnight all summer. One kid who looked to be 10 even had the gall to bang on my door at 2am to try to get a light for his cigarette! After seeing all that, wondering where those kids parents were, I’m not feeling real bad about those kids doing something I had to do every school day. If you gotta have them drove, drive them.

Clayton Parent

August 12th, 2010
3:34 pm

OK. If not transportation, then what? Offer solutions, suggestions, etc….not just complaints. Is it just me, or shouldn’t the parents bear some blame if small children are walking to school unsupervised? Just because the School Board made a poor decision, it does not mean that you “HAVE” to put your child in harms way!

bigdogears

August 12th, 2010
4:08 pm

Clayton County has some of the most obese children and adults in Georgia. Most of our population could use more exercise. I walked to school where the bus situation was very similar. I lived about 1.5 miles from my schools. We walked or rode our bikes. Of course, if I were a concerned parent of school aged children I wouldn’t live in Clayton County. Parents of elementary school aged children should probably be concerned but those of older children should be happy. I’d rather walk home in 20 minutes than ride the bus for 45 minutes.

Mr. D.

August 12th, 2010
4:54 pm

It was my impression that children under a mile and a half ALWAYS have had to walk to Clayton County Schools. That was the way it was from 1980 until 1993 when I went to school in the Forest Park/ Morrow area. I think that they are just reinterating an existing policy.

milner

August 13th, 2010
9:43 am

Daylight saving times is NOW. Regular time will be starting in the fall.

Long time Clayton Resident

August 13th, 2010
12:49 pm

I want to applaud the efforts of the administration at Callaway Elementary School. The car rider lane has at least doubled due to the policy enforcement. We’ve had parent volunteers step up to help. The principal has made it a mission to get the line moving as smoothly and as fast as possible. Good work.

Shannon

August 14th, 2010
11:37 am

I see two basic problems with this policy.

1) As Roach pointed out, the bags. The more the student is carrying, the more difficult this will be.

2) In addition, this policy is fine in the mornings of summer, but the *afternoons*? The students will be walking home during the hottest part of the day with no shade, lugging heavy bookbags, during heat advisories.

A mile and a half is a LONG walk, particularly on short legs!

jimmy (conservative brother)

August 14th, 2010
3:11 pm

What the government gives the government can take away. If it is one thing I learned from my mother growing up… don’t accept government handouts. I know it seems cold to call bus rides a handout but that is just what it had become. The school buses were making certain routes where kids had to walk no further than their front yards to be picked up. Oh, and the bus transfer system to get kids to non-failing schools (no child left behind) is a colossal joke. Kids get on one bus near their homes. That bus takes them to Tara stadium where they board another bus to take them to their actual schools. It is the parents responsibility to get their children to school.
What’s really funny is the fact that we are crying about the kids getting to schools when we need to be concerned with the utter failure that the school system is. I know families who have made great sacrifices financially and other wise to see to it that their kids do not have to suffer through this school system. They get up and drive their children 30 minutes to a private school in Henry County. If your children are important to you then you make that sacrifice and you don’t sit around and cry about what the government has decided to take from you.

Stuck in Clayton

August 14th, 2010
4:59 pm

I think it will be hard for any of the kids in this county to walk to school or anywhere for that matter with their pants around their knees.

Left a few years ago..

August 14th, 2010
5:15 pm

I hate to say it, but Clayton County is gone down the proverbial tubes.

Peter Pumpkin Eater

August 14th, 2010
6:56 pm

Clayton County will never recver unless everyone in the current administration is voted out!

UpperCut

August 15th, 2010
1:38 pm

jimmy (conservative brother) is like a thief and a fool! We pay (SPLOST) for sidewalk and other taxes to the school system, now he’s calling it a government handout; WRONG. We have no sidewalks, now no buses! We paid for school buses and sidewalks. More money need to be place on the children getting to school and learning. It’s easily done! Redirect more funding to the classroom; not the administration building!

Say What

August 15th, 2010
11:18 pm

SPLOST/ELOST=Gravy Train. All the LOST funds are used for, in the Schools and the County, are to help Commissioners personal bank accounts. This is where they all use their votes on vendors of these special projects to get re-elected and to line their pockets. Why do you think most admin officers at the schools drive mercedes and lexus. And why do you think most outside influences like John Trotter want so much control? SPLOST Projects always have been a way to profit off the people of the county by a shell game. Always know that every project is awarded to someone’s Mother, Brother, Cousin’s Sister, next door neighbor’s old college room mate, etc……….not to the company that legitimately earns it and is doing it for the right reason. Gotta give back to the voting member of the Board. It should be called BFOA (Board Friends Only Apply) Aint that right Wade?

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jimmy (conservative brother)

August 16th, 2010
9:24 am

Uppercut, foolish is the person who marched to the poles and told the government to take more of his hard earned money to build sidewalks and recreational centers. Once you relinquish your money to the government they can do with it as they see fit. Look what you are complaining about: Your tax dollars go to the board of education and they see fit to use the money on high administrative salaries and not more bus routes. Now if you had some of the money you gave the government through all the purchases you’ve made maybe you could afford to provide safe transportation of your own. Instead you suffer at the whims of the government.
I agree with you that the government is a thief, for they use theft by deception when they tell you that they are going to use your tax dollars for one thing (sidewalks) only to get you to give them more of your money to do what they want (concerts and movies in the park).
The buses have become a handout to this degree. It has long been the rule that children who lived within a mile and a half had to walk to school and lets assume that the government back then made that decision based on the ability to pay for the additional buses. Then somewhere along the way the government began to bring in more money than necessary and they chose to provide rides that had been excluded previously. Those people were essentially getting a free ride so to speak because realistically the government still could not afford it. Now the money is gone and those people have gotten used to the free ride (hand out).

BnB

August 16th, 2010
12:27 pm

New business –

So now the 4 that lost can not understand why – and that it must be the fault of someone – so let’s throw some mud and see if it sticks.

Shegale Crute – Even tho the people may not like the way your ex-husband – Wole Ralph has been acting – the voters probably thought with both of you on as commisioners – there would be nothing but fireworks and drama and no work being accompished.

Rev Jones – The voters probably figured out you were put up to this by one your parishoners Ms. Goree, and felt they could not afford another non-stop talker on the BOE.

Mr. Searcy – a devotee of Synamon’s organization, nuff said.

Ms. (hyphenated) Woods – I really expected better from you. You are articulate – educated. You learned about hard work and education from your father. But was it your father or the local black Democrats that taught you that when you do not get your way. Find someone else to blame – that is after all – the Democrats way.

The candidates complaint – “that some citizens weren’t able to find the candidates on their ballot.” Just how stupid do you have to be to not find your candidate on the electronic voting machines. These people should not vote at all. The candidates should learn from the experience and stop the Blame Game. Grow up people, just cause you lost doesn’t mean you have to find someone else to blame but yourself and your politics.

Synamonsays!

August 16th, 2010
2:50 pm

BnB, gutless, enough said!

Furry Vengence

August 16th, 2010
3:17 pm

I agree with the four. Something was definitely up. I also wonder why Anne showed up at the last BOC meeting on runoff night?

Big Papi

August 17th, 2010
7:39 am

Great, now they can burglarize your home while walking to and from school.

SPIDEYWIFE

August 19th, 2010
5:38 pm

Ladies & Gentlemen:
The majority of you have made helpful comments about this bus situation, but some of you are so callous in your posts. This situation has nothing 2 do with poor parenting, obese children needing 2 walk 2 school, or the fact that you had 2 walk 2 school 50 years ago! This is a different day! Pedophilia, dark mornings, cold weather, no sidewalks, dangerous animals, drivers using cellphones are VALID concerns! Yes, it’s life, but things are getting worse. You can’t make today’s children suffer because of what you had 2 do as a child. Don’t you want better for today’s kids? It truly takes a “village”. Parents, teachers, schools, & community! I take my children everyday, but I’m still concerned about those who have 2 walk. I’m not a selfish parent who just thinks of my own kids! The ANTI-DILUVIAN VIEWS have got 2 catch up 2 the 21st century! God Bless You All!

Mr.SouthMetroAtlanta

August 22nd, 2010
11:19 am

Kim – I read the letter sent home to parents from CCPS Website and contrary to what you have listed in introducing this topic, it was not stated that the children living within 1 1/2 of school would have to walk. Instead it stated that they would not be eligible for bus transportation. This makes a big difference in how the topic is being addressed but my opinion is that parents/guardians were disrespected by CCPS not having them involved in discussions on the topic before dropping this inside decision on the public. The School Board should be blasted for being irresponsible and I hope parents/guardians continue to step it up in defense of our children.

kallen

August 22nd, 2010
11:37 am

Mr. South Metro Atlanta, you are correct about my wording and the CCPS letter. However, although I have not spoken with every single parent who has a child in CCPS, the parents I have talked to (many of whom contacted me asking for this story to be written and are still doing so) have stated their child(ren) will have to walk because they either have no transportation of their own, or because they work and can not transport their child without jeopardizing their job. So this was written from their perspective with more stories to come depending on how this plays out at the Board meeting tomorrow evening.

Mr.SouthMetroAtlanta

August 22nd, 2010
7:49 pm

Tommy Paden

August 25th, 2010
2:55 pm

I walked to school from Kindergarden up to 12th grade.The major difference WE HAD SIDE WALKS and PATROL BOYS and I did not live in the COUNTRY! These children can’t walk in the woods, with mud holes, snakes, crazy drivers, perverts, and god knows what else. Bottom line, this is still THE COUNTRY!

Concerned Parent

August 26th, 2010
9:27 pm

I’m all for walking my child to school but DAMN! Where’s the sidewalks? I read comments about some of you walking to school in your day BUT there are 20x’s more pedophiles, people texting not paying attn while driving than EVER! It’s not about kids or parents being lazy IT’S ABOUT SAFETY & RESPONSIBILITY. It’s too dangerous for children to be walking by themselves. When someone child gets abducted, hit, or even worse then I guess they will realize that cutting the buses was a MISTAKE. Signing off it takes about 20 mins to walk a mile even longer going up a hill lol……