As criticism continues to mount over Katy ISD’s new school bus policy, several concerned parents have launched a new Facebook page to oppose the district’s decision.
The page, “Bring Back Our Buses,” was created by district residents under the name Katy ISD Parents for Safety.
According to the page, it is “dedicated to fighting for the safety of our children and reinstating safe bus routes to all KISD schools.”
It also says the group is “dedicated to solving the transportation chaos caused by the superintendent and school board for 2012-2013.”
The page can be viewed at www.facebook.com/KatyISDConcernedParents.
In May, the Katy ISD Board of Trustees eliminated more than 50 bus routes, affecting approximately 6,600 students, or nearly 21 percent of the 32,000 students that rode buses to school in the previous school year.
District officials recommended the move because they said Katy ISD could not hire a sufficient number of drivers available to meet daily transportation route requirements.
“The change in transportation services comes after extensive review of our current transportation operations that not only revealed a heavy burden for drivers covering multiple routes, but also a high amount of uncertainty and risk due to vacant routes and driver absences,” Superintendent Alton Frailey said when the cutbacks were announced. “In comparison to other school districts, Katy ISD’s transportation eligibility distances remain among the shortest in the Houston area as many districts require students to live outside of a two-mile radius.”
Earlier this month, the district launched a new transportation hotline, as well as a new webpage, to answer parents’ questions about new transportation eligibility guidelines; however, many parents who have contacted the hotline have expressed dissatisfaction over the responses they have received.
Parents have also complained the methodology being used by the district to calculate the distances for bus eligibility was flawed, and that some students will be forced to cross potentially-hazardous intersections when walking to school.
To be eligible for transportation services under the new policy, an elementary student must live beyond a half-mile radius from school property, and for secondary students, beyond a one-mile radius from school property.
The district said bus transportation will continue to be provided for students for whom a hazardous condition may exist between home and school, as well as special needs bus routes.