Self-styled Rug Rats and Spice Girl wannabes heading to Alpine Elementary School for the first day of school Monday waited anxiously for a bus to shuttle them to their classrooms.

And they waited. And waited. And waited.The bus, scheduled to arrive at 8:45 a.m., didn't come.

Small crowds of children were left standing at the side of the road until shortly after 9 a.m. when parents, alarmed the bus hadn't arrived, piled the kids into cars and drove them to the school at 400 E. 300 North.

So why the mix-up?

Alpine School District officials last spring decided to cancel the bus route that passes near the Lone Peak, Country Manor and Village Way housing developments because of the proximity to the school.

State law allows school districts to cancel routes that are less than 1 1/2 miles from a school if children can safely walk or ride a bike to school. New sidewalks along the winding road were installed in most of the area last year.

But after the vote to strike the route, the principal was asked to spread the word. In the last-day-of-school fray, she forgot, said Superintendent Steven C. Baugh.

"The situation at Alpine Elementary was a tragedy to me," Baugh said. "When we fail to communicate and children are left standing, there's no excuse. I feel sick about it."

Baugh said an 18-member district group, called the "under-mileage and safety committee," evaluates which parts of the district will receive busing services. This year, because of the numerous new housing developments that upgraded and built sidewalks, parents in the area were to be asked to find transportation for their children.

A group of parents, concerned about the safety of their children along the busy thoroughfare, turned in a 50-signature protest of the cancellation to district headquarters Monday afternoon.

Baugh also met with about 15 parents to discuss the issue.

"It wasn't 100 children left at the side of the road. There were some, but not 100," he said. "But whether it was 100 or six or eight or 10, it was too many."

The bus route could be reinstated if officials determine pedestrian traveling is too hazardous for small children. A traffic study will be conducted this week by district transportation officials.

If the policy changes, parents will be notified with a flier or a telephone call, Baugh said.

Meanwhile, the children are being picked up at 8:45 a.m. at an LDS chapel on Village Way Drive. Children were taken home from school by bus on Monday.

Students in the area will be bused for the rest of the week, Baugh said.