Monday, May 31, 2010
One area of concern to THE GUARDIAN is we have produced a couple of generations of kids who can't or won't walk anymore to anything. The family truckster shuttles kids everywhere, to everything you can imagine.
The subject of why kids can't walk to school is something in which all parents should become vested. Some years back I asked school Supt. Roger Quarrels why kids don't walk to school anymore. The short answer is LACK OF SIDEWALKS, AND STOP LIGHT CONTROLLED CROSSWALKS.
Taxpayers should be concerned about the costs of busing kids to schools when they live within walking distance. The fix is simple. Invest in sidewalks where they currently do not exist. Kids should be expected to walk or ride a bicycle to school when the distance is less than 1.5 miles. The challenge is to give kids a safe way to do this. The benefits are enormous with money wasted on busing and kids and improving general health and activity of our community.
The following was taken off Caldwell School District website:
"What is being done to cut busing costs? Can off-campus travel (sports, music) be reduced? Can busing be limited to students living more than one mile away? What is the cost of busing ALP students? (ALP stands for students performing two years ahead of grade level)
Each year we look at every bus route and modify them so that they give us the best transportation for our children for the least cost. Our district does a great deal of safety busing, which means that the children cannot cross a major arterial such as 10th or Linden, they cannot cross canals or waterways that could prove hazardous, nor can they walk down roads that have narrow shoulders and no sidewalks. The bottom line is that we are required to bus the majority of our children to their schools. The cost of busing the ALP students is minimal when you consider what the cost would be if we had to hire three ALP teachers (3rd grade, 4th grade, fifth grade) for each school. We feel that the ALP program is an important part of educating ALL of our children and in meeting the needs of ALL children. Off campus transportation for extra-curricular programs can be limited and is considered when looking at these programs. Again, it comes down to what our community expects from the schools in the way of sports, music, drama, debate, etc., which we try to provide within our budget."
It is time for us all to figure out how to fix this with a city program to put sidewalks where they don't exist. We think nothing of spending millions on school bonds and override elections. This is a health and safety issue for everyone to consider investing in for their community.
Sidewalks are at best a piecemeal effort in Caldwell. Caldwell is not a pedestrian friendly city. This could change with some political will to make it happen via our elected officials.
Lastly, your kids don't need a security detail for every move they make.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 11:36 AM