Bus Routes Slashed More Kids Will Walk To School

(Cordova, TN) When Karleigh Jackson gets ready for her first day of school, she won’t head out the door and get on her usual school bus.

That’s because her mom got a letter from Shelby County schools informing her she now lives in a Parent Responsibility Zone.

That means no bus service since she lives a mile and a half from her daughter’s school, Dexter Elementary.

“I’ve lived here for nine years, we’ve always had bus transportation,” Karleigh’s mom, Kelly Tweedle, said. “We lost our transportation in this new unified district that’s supposed to be better for our children.”

The zones were reevaluated this year to shave off nearly $6 million of the transportation budget.

You are now in a “PRZ” if you are 1.5 miles from school if your child is in elementary. If your child is in middle school or high school, you are in a PRZ if you are within 2 miles of school.

Tweedle says these savings come at a cost.

“The traffic is terrible. People speed up and down the road (Raleigh-LaGrange) constantly,” she said. “I’m scared.”

If 8-year-old Karleigh walked to school, Tweedle said danger is at every curve.

The district does provide crossing guards for kids to get across busy roads like Dexter, but what concerns parents most is once they get across the street, there are no sidewalks.

“They could have maybe put sidewalks in before they took our bus transportation,” Tweedle said.

In a statement to News Channel 3 Shelby County Schools said, “the walking pattern to school has been determined safe by our transportation specialists.”

Tweedle believes there are no safe routes, so she’s trying to change her work schedule.

Her neighbor already did.

“I’m working midnights now just so I can be home during the day so I can take him to and pick him up from school,” Anne Phillips said. “He’s 6 years old, he can’t walk to school himself. “

They’re hoping the district changes the bus routes or at least gets more crossing guards before the school bell rings August 5th.

The district says concerned parents can contact the Transportation Office at 901-321-2280 to discuss safe walking routes.

The district added that they told parents about the new changes in May so they could have plenty of time to make arrangements.

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