Sunday, July 7, 2013

How Far is Too Far to Walk? | PWC Education Reform Blog

How Far is Too Far to Walk? | PWC Education Reform Blog:

How Far is Too Far to Walk?

Officials with Loudoun county public schools recently reviewed bus / walk distances and learned that their existing policy on busing wasn’t being consistently followed throughout the county.  Their current policy calls for elementary age students within .8 miles of the school and middle and high school students within one mile of the school to walk.  Enforcing the existing policy means close to 4,000 students will no longer be bused to and from school.  An official with Loudoun county public schools reportedly stated that new housing construction without rewriting of the bus maps had resulted in the discrepancy (see article from Inside NOVA here).
Prince William County has seen just as much, if not more, new housing construction in the past 10 years as Loudoun. PWCS Regulation 431-1 stipulates that students living up to one mile from a school will be expected to walk to and from school, unless “student safety is jeopardized by traffic, walking conditions, or other hazards”.  The policy also states that “Students eligible for transportation may be required to walk up to one mile to a school bus stop.”
Does PWCS need to evaluate whether the policy on walker  / bus distances is being enforced in the county?  Like Loudoun discovered, I suspect there are instances where students who live less than a mile from their base school and have safe sidewalks to use are being bused.  I also suspect there are bus routes that could be shorter if students