Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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More on Walking to School

The Associated Press has a story on how soaring diesel fuel prices are forcing school systems across the country to reduce bus services by having more students walk to school. The story is germane to one I wrote here.  So far, the Spotsylvania school system hasn’t budged on supervisors’ inquiries. 

"In California, districts are eliminating busing for thousands of students. Districts in Washington state, Idaho and Maryland and elsewhere are consolidating bus stops, canceling field trips and forcing students to walk longer distances to school to control costs."

According to the AP, the Capistrano United School District in Orange County, Calif., has eliminated 44 of its 62 bus routes to save an estimated $3.5 million. The cuts will affect an estimated 5,000 students from kindergarten to high school. 

There are two sides to the argument. Health advocates encourage students to walk to school. School officials say reducing bus services could increase truancy and endanger students who walking in areas without sidewalks or crosswalks–something that is an obstacle in Spotsylvania County. There are also neighborhoods very close to schools where students could walk, but they are currently taking a bus. Another argument is:

   “If you remove a school bus from the road, you’re adding 40 to 50 cars in the morning and in the afternoon,” said Bob Riley, spokesman for the American School Bus Council, which represents school transportation officials.

Closer to home, the school board in Montgomery County, Md., has authorized its superintendent to force students to walk farther to school. The current limits now stand at one mile for elementary school students and up to two miles for high schoolers.