Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Next month, Lockport City School officials plan to discuss the concerns that Young Road parents have about a recent busing change.
Board of Education members plan to take up the issue at their Jan. 8 work session meeting, Superintendent Michelle T. Bradley said.
Beginning Dec. 16, buses began picking up and dropping off Young Road students at a bus stop on the corner where the road meets Sunset Drive, instead of letting them board and deboard in their own driveways. Parents raised safety concerns to the Board of Education at the Dec. 11 meeting, but were told the switch was based on the district receiving a complaint from a parent about the door-to-door pickup violating policy.
Young Road is a dead-end street in the Town of Lockport, just north of Leete Road. Young jots out east of Sunset Drive. A total of four daily buses pick up students of all ages on Young.
Last week, the district was made aware of an issue by Young Road parents. Two of the afternoon buses headed south on Sunset and dropped students off across the street. The students had to cross Sunset, where the speed limit is 50 mph. That’s a major safety concern for parents and something the district had told them would not happen.
That was a mistake, Bradley said. Ridge Road Express was contacted immediately and now the buses will drop the students off on Sunset with the door facing Young as they were supposed to, she said.
The issue arose less than a week after parents approached the Board of Education with a list of concerns and questions about the busing change and the siting of a bus stop at Young and Sunset. There are no sidewalks or a shoulder on Sunset for the students to stand on, so they’re forced to stand on private property or on Young Road. Traffic is fairly heavy at the intersection, which is near both Niagara Hospice and the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office.
Jon May, whose daughter attends DeSales and rides one of the Young Road buses, said roughly a half dozen families are affected by the busing change.
”Point to me where they can stand,” May said. “Obviously, we want this resolved as soon as humanly possible. Finally, after email after email they’re going to look at this. We got their attention.”
District officials said according to New York State Department of Education, “district decisions (about transporting students) must be based on criteria established by the school board” and “must be applied to all district students in like circumstances.” For nonpublic school transportation, districts must treat all students in like circumstances equally, according to the state.
The complaint came from a parent who thought the Young Road situation violated that policy, since door-to-door service is not offered to students on other similar streets.
But you can’t treat every street, every neighborhood and every situation the same, May said. He claims state education law allows districts the leeway to look at transportation issues on a case-by-case basis.
”It’s not fair to single out any street,” May said.
Bradley said Lockport City Schools may review all of its bus routes, the entire picture, with Ridge Road Express.
”A thorough review is warranted, I think,” Bradley said. “But the board will discuss it.”
The discussion won’t happen until next month, largely because Lockport kids are now on holiday break and won’t return to school until Jan. 6.Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.