Parents want answers to why school bus routes eliminated

Friday, August 10, 2012

Three disgruntled parents attended the Alta City Council meeting Monday to voice their opinions on hearing that the Alta School District has eliminated bus stops on Prospect Street and Lake Street and asked the council if there is anything they could do to remedy the situation.

The parents told the council that with these eliminated bus stops, there will be approximately 20-30 children, ranging from ages pre-school (3 and 4 year olds) to middle school that will now be walking to the elementary school or to the old high school (where they get on a bus to travel to Aurelia.)

The parents shared their concerns.

"With traffic on numerous uncontrolled intersections and the recent abductions or attempted abductions happening in Iowa, we are concerned for the safety of all children walking in Alta."

They pointed out that with the more children not having a bus ride, there is a possibility that there will be more traffic at the school - in an area which is already congested - if more parents decide to drop some of the children off at school.

The parents asked that council if the city could at least place more stop signs on Main Street to slow the traffic down for the larger number of students that would be crossing the street.

Council members shared that they have been approached on several occasions to place stop signs in other areas of the community for the same purpose and added that Sheriff Gary Launderville has told them that stop signs do not control speed limits. It may stop them for a moment or two but drivers then accelerate again.

The parents asked if a second officer could be in town in the mornings and again at the end of the school day; currently there is only one on duty at the time.

They pleaded with the council to help. "What can you do to keep the children of Alta safe?"

The parents told the council that they have talked with Superintendent Lynn Evans about the situation and have been told that the decision has already been made.

The reasoning, the parents have been told, is that the buses pick up the rural kids and then using the same buses have picked up the town kids. By the time the buses pick up the town kids, they are too full.

"It sounds like the school is avoiding a problem that most school wish they had," said council member Brian Walsh, pointing out in most cases services are discontinued if they are not being used not if they are being used to capacity.

The council members urged the parents to talk to the school board at their next meeting about their concerns, even though they have been told that the decision is made and is final.

Council member Rob Hach said he is "absolutely concerned about the children in Alta" and if they cannot get something accomplished with the school to come back to them.

It was discussed that the issue becomes a liability on the city if something happens to a child while walking to school.

The same group of parents passed out flyers at the National Night Out event to make others in the community aware of the situation and are inviting everyone who shares their concern to the school board meeting that will be held Monday at the old Alta high school building at 6:30 p.m. in the board room right next to the superintendent's office.

They urged those that could not attend the meeting to contact school officials and board members to voice their opinions.

"Thank you for your support in keeping the children of Alta safe," their flyers concluded.