As Arlington County prepares to welcome students back to school Tuesday, a revised busing plan has parents up in arms.
In August, the Arlington County school system announced plans to strictly enforce the walking zone, in which elementary school students who live within a mile of their school and secondary school students who live within 1.5 miles of their school would be unable to ride the bus. The school system estimates that the new emphasis means that 1,500 students who previously took the bus to school would not be able to do so.
The system also eliminated 12 bus stops that serve five schools (Taylor, Glebe, and Campbell elementary schools and Yorktown and Wakefield high schools), a reduction that they say will affect 250 students.
Some parents have objected to the change of safety grounds, citing the number of busy intersections kids will have to cross to get to schools. Another parent told the Washington Post the changes were "a major shift in services in the county for people who pay a tremendous amount in taxes." The school system says the plan will reduce unsafe overcrowding on buses and save $190,000, the amount required to buy and run another bus. The system currently spends $14.4 million a year on transportation.
According to the paper, nearly 200 appeals have been filed by parents in the walking zone with the aim of receiving bus service. Some of those appeals have been successful, though an exact number is not known.
The school system has issued bus cards to 14,000 eligible students.