LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — It was meant to make things easier for parents.
Instead, as school opens for the year in the Lee’s Summit School District, moms and dads are complaining about new bus procedures, claiming some of them are inconvenient and unsafe.
Lee’s Summit School District leaders told parents they were giving the gift of time and more of it with their kids. That was back in May, when new arrangements for school bus stops were first explained to the public.
However, on the first day of school, parents still complained they’re dissatisfied that some of the new bus stops, both in urban areas and on country roads, are forcing kids to walk too far from their homes, sometimes using roads that are dark or dangerous.
Stacy Paszkiewicz, a parent who lives near Lee’s Summit Elementary School, said she fears something bad could happen.
Paszkiewicz, a mother of four, including one child who rides the bus to school, used to catch her ride just a few doors down.
Now, Paszkiewicz said her teen has to walk two blocks down a section of N.E. Beacon Avenue where, according to Paszkiewicz, a homeless person was recently arrest.
That strip of road has no sidewalks, meaning students would be forced to walk either in roadside ditches or in the street.
“What concerns me is the transient population here, the cars that are speeding up and down,” Paszkiewicz said. “Statistically, she’ll probably make it to the bus and she’ll probably get on the bus, but I don`t want to be the one who misses that statistic. This is not OK with me.”
Unlike some metro school systems, Lee’s Summit operates its own bus routes.
The concern is the same in rural areas, where traffic doesn’t always see pedestrians waiting in grassy cut-outs on the roadside.
“I think the changes were well intended,” Katie Sharp, another LSSD parent, told FOX4.
Sharp said she and other parents aren’t pleased.
Her daughter used to catch the bus down the street from their home. Now, Sharp said the teenage girl has to wait on a busy corner off Smart Road, where there are neither sidewalks nor streetlights.
“There’s no place for her to walk except in the street. There’s no city easement. There’s no sidewalks. There are no streetlights. Even though she’s a teenage girl getting on the bus in the dark, it`s dark out there,” Sharp said.
Statistics provided by Lee’s Summit School District leaders show that by using this new plan, the district was able to cut its number of school buses by roughly 50 percent.
Kelly Wachel, a spokesperson for the district, told FOX4 educators are aware of the complaints, and they’re working with parents on a case-by-case basis to help with the adjustments.