Maria Urso 0

Transportation for Grandfathered Siblings

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We, the undersigned parents of children attending Hawthorn District 73 schools, hereby request the District 73 Board of Education members consider the following:

At the Board of Education (hereinafter referred to as the “Board”) meeting on November 10, 2014, the Board voted to extend grandfathering to the siblings of students going into 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades, beginning with the 2015-16 school year. The main reason given by the Board in their discussion is to allow families to remain together. Later in the same meeting, with less than 4 minutes of discussion, the Board voted to only allow the siblings of the grandfathered students to be transported by school bus through the end of the 2017-18 school year. Starting in 2018-19, the parents would be responsible for transporting their child if they sent them to a school other than their boundaried school.

The signers of this petition request that the Board revise that decision to at least offer transportation for a fee for the following reasons:

Carpools are inherently unreliable. Whether it’s because a driver’s car won’t start, their own child is ill and not attending school that day, or constantly changing extra-curricular schedules, many things interfere with making a consistent agreement to transport each other’s children. Traffic will increase around each school, which makes it even more congested and therefore not as safe for the cars or the walkers. This will also delay the busses, which are not permitted to leave until the car line is finished at the end of the day. At a minimum, the child will have to be driven both ways for 3 years. This puts a tremendous burden on the parents, especially those that work outside of the home, who often rely on having the extra 20-30 minutes on each end of the day to commute to and from work. Losing bus service means starting their work day later and ending it earlier. Perhaps most importantly, the goal of keeping families together cannot be accomplished if this barrier remains in place, because it effectively makes it impossible for parents to grandfather the younger siblings. Moving our children to their boundaried school in 2018 is obviously not a viable option if we are the people that chose to grandfather in the first place. For as far back as we can ascertain, Hawthorn District 73 has allowed people living within 1.5 miles of the school to pay a fee for bus transportation, and there has been no discussion of changing that. To remove our bus service without even having the option to pay, you’re discriminating against children living more than 1.5 miles from the school, simply based upon their address. A school bus is the safest way to transport children to and from school; much safer than a car. Since Dual Language is housed at Townline and remains a choice, it is not an extra burden to transport those grandfathered siblings attending Townline, especially as the numbers dwindle each year.

Time is of the essence, as many of us have to decide within the next 30 days where to enroll our incoming Kindergarteners. Thank you.

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