In response to concerns from working parents, USD 489 staff said they will consider other options regarding busing middle schools kids home.
During the audience participation portion of Monday’s school board meeting, Hays parent Rhiannon Maier asked the board to return to last year’s busing process in which middle school students were transported to drop-off locations at an elementary school in their neighborhood.
In May, the board voted to no longer bus students who live within 2.5 miles of their school.
Maier said she lives about 1.9 miles from the Hays Middle School and does not feel it is safe for her seventh-grader to walk home in an unfamiliar neighborhood in the heat and cold.
“I really feel we have taught our kids, in their own communities, to be safe and to know the safe houses they can go to if there are problems along the way,” Maier said. “I would ask the board to reconsider busing those students back to their local school to walk home.”
Superintendent Dean Katt said district staff has received phone calls from other parents who are concerned as well, especially from middle school parents.
Director of Curriculum Shanna Dinkel said she has also heard concerns from parents because unlike, elementary school, after-school care is not available for middle school students who are not involved in after-school activities.
Board member Sarah Rankin asked Maier is she would be willing to pay a fee for busing her child home if the district was not able to come up with the funds to provide the service.
“I enrolled three kids (in USD 489) at almost $700. What is another fee for their safety?” Maier asked.
Superintendent Dean Katt said the administration will look at the issue and possible “options.”