School Budget Cuts Cause Debate In Derby

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August 11, 2010

47th Street South and K-15, a busy intersection particularly at drive time. Imagine kids having to cross this intersection to go to school and come home from school.

"Absolutely,” Mike Weilert said. “I wouldn't even consider it."

Weilert wouldn’t consider having his six-year-old daughter Caitlyn walk to her first grade class at Oaklawn Elementary. But, like 30 other Derby school students in the Deer Lake Estates neighborhood, he’s still trying to line up school transportation days before class starts

"Last year we had a bus stop a couple hundred feet away and we could watch her get on and off," Weilert said.

But that was before school districts like Derby had to trim budgets. Derby cut hundreds of thousands of dollars from their budget. It includes discontinuing bus service for students living within 2 ½ miles from their school, which happens to comply with state law.

Parents like Dana Moore say the change could put some kids in harms way if they try to walk the hazardous route.

"I understand that times are tight and they have to cut money any place they can but I don't think it should sacrifice the children's safety for it," Moore said. "There's no cross walk and going to and coming home from school they'd be in peak traffic hours from Spirit and it's just a pretty dangerous intersection. I've seen accidents there several times and seen people run through the lights."

Assistant Superintendent Heather Bohaty says the district is encouraging parents to line up neighborhood car-pooling.

"I can't imagine they saved that much money in the budget just cutting this area out," Morre said.

Derby saves $30,000 with these bus cuts.

"You can't sacrifice kid's safety for a budget."

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