A handful of Alpine Elementary School students who waited in vain for a bus Monday will have to come up with another mode of transportation.
Slip on some walking shoes, kids. The bus route has been canceled.Results of a traffic study conducted this week determined a 1 1/2 mile stretch to the school at 400 E. 300 North is reasonably safe for a daily commute on foot, said Superintendent Steven C. Baugh.
In the past, children who lived near Lone Peak, Country Manor and Village Way housing developments in Alpine were taken to school by bus because there were few sidewalks along the winding roads.
With the completion of housing developments, most of the sidewalks have been installed and upgraded. Since the subdivisions are less than 11/2 miles away, district officials, in accordance with state law, decided not to offer transportation.
Alpine Elementary officials were notified last spring that students in the area would no longer be bused to school. In the harried days leading to summer vacation, the principal forgot to send parents a note about the change.
Crowds of students waited about 20 minutes for the bus Monday until parents loaded a caravan of cars and drove the children themselves. Upset parents signed petitions this week to overturn the cancellation and asked for another evaluation of the roads.
An 18-member committee recommended the route be discontinued after weeks of study last spring. The group includes parents, district officials and police officers.
"From the review," Baugh said in a statement, "it appears that proper procedures and guidelines were followed by the safety committee and that the routes no longer qualify for undermileage status and can no longer be funded."
Baugh told the Deseret News on Tuesday that the district spends some $650,000 to bus children who live within a 1 1/2-mile radius of school but would be forced to walk or ride a bike on dangerous or heavily traveled thoroughfares.
"The truth is, the district cannot afford to fund these routes on a continuous basis. We receive no state monies for these lines of travel and must use scarce textbook and supply funds to provide busing on a conditional basis for these students," Baugh said.
"This is an ongoing process within the district, and each year some routes are discontinued as new ones take their place as local conditions change."
Baugh also reminded parents that busing routes are established on a tentative basis and are reviewed annually. Once state and local safety guidelines are met, he said, the routes are canceled.
"Many of these routes are utilized in newly developed areas of our communities until improvements are made," he said.