David Dude, the district’s executive director of operational services, said he received identical letters Wednesday afternoon from four families asking that their children be bused. District administrators will determine whether to uphold or deny the appeals, he said, and that decision can be appealed to the school board.
Parents and some residents have expressed safety concerns about the walk to school next fall for Miller-Orchard students.
They currently attend Roosevelt Elementary, which is within a quarter-mile of many of their homes, but the school is closing at the end of this school year.
About 30 students from the neighborhood have been told they’ll need to walk to their new school, Horn Elementary. The average walk would be 1.2 miles.
The concerns are that the route runs along busy Benton Street, up and down big hills and past the driveways of several large apartment complexes.
The district typically does not bus elementary school students who live within two miles of their school, but exceptions are made for hazardous conditions.
The district’s current position on the Miller-Orchard students is based on the determination of its bus contractor, Durham School Services, that the route is not hazardous.
The district has worked with Iowa City and University Heights to get four crossing guards for Horn next year, and the district is exploring having the kids walk in adult-supervised groups, a concept known as a “walking school bus.”