More than 20 angry parents Tuesday night criticized a Granite School District budget-cutting effort that eliminated a bus route to William Penn Elementary School.
Parents took more than half an hour to tell the district school board about the dangers their children face, now that they will have to walk or use other forms of transportation to get to the school, 1670 Siggard Drive (3700 South), Holladay.Parents complained that Highland Drive between 3900 South and 4500 South, the area the children must travel, has been the site of 198 accidents in a single year. They said up to 20,000 cars drive through the area daily.
The board eliminated the bus route, along with several others, to balance its 1990-91 budget. Parents said their children will have to walk in high-traffic areas with few sidewalks.
Linda McGraw said, "I have personally known three people who have been killed on Highland Drive . . .. This is not fair, you're not being fair. We haven't created this situation, you have given us this situation."
Another parent said the board had ignored several petitions and accepted the recommendations of an ad hoc committee without consulting parents.
"This group is not really a vocal minority of irrational activists," said Scott Webb. "These are people who are genuinely concerned about the children . . .. The parents are really offended by the procedures and the attitude of the board."
Webb said the board sent parents a letter announcing the bus route elimination two weeks before school started, which did not give them enough time to fight the proposal. "I don't think we deserve to correspond in such a fashion, and the decision had been made with inaccurate and incomplete information."
Webb said parents had been told only 50 students would be affected by the board's action, but he said more than 200 have been affected. "I have personally felt that the decision had been made before the parents presented all the homework they had done."
Board member Patricia Sandstrom made a motion to discuss the issue again during the meeting but failed to get enough support from the rest of the board.
Board President Lynn Davidson said the parents' claims were incorrect and said the board had acted upon the recommendation of the busing committee. "We're not holding any students hostage over the busing issue," he said.
Sandstrom, who was criticized during the meeting, said, "I'm going to overlook the insults because only I know how much I care about the children."
Last month, the same group of parents formed a motorcade outside the school and has protested during several board meetings.