I was sitting in a Park City School School Board meeting and someone said, “do you know how many kids ride the bus to McPolin? 10.” I took it as a joke, but it may not have been given current school board policies regarding student busing.
A Snyderville Basin resident had begun a campaign to change fees associated with busing. It seems students within 1.5 miles of an elementary school or 2 miles of a secondary school are not eligible for busing without paying a $200 fee per child. This $200 fee, it seems, incentivizes many parents to drive their kids to school instead. Resident, Alex Brown, has started a petition to get the fee reduced or removed and has asked for people to attend an October 20th school board meeting to express concerns to the Park City School Board.
If you look at a map of the area surrounding McPolin Elementary School, a 1.5 mile restriction generally encompasses a large share of students that attend the school. This may explain the reason only a few students take the bus to the Kearns Campus area.
This decision by the School Board (which has been in place for years) was likely based upon Utah Code which says:
(1) A student eligible for state-supported transportation means:
(a) a student enrolled in kindergarten through grade six who lives at least 1-1/2 miles from school;
(b) a student enrolled in grades seven through 12 who lives at least two miles from school;
Therefore, the district may fear they would lose state funding by allowing students in close proximity to schools to ride the bus for free.
However, Ms Brown claims, “when asked what the $200 per child fee is used for, I was told that it goes into a pot for under-funded programs which means any program not just transportation.”
This is likely one of those policies that have been in place for years. However, with current transportation problems in and around Park City, it seems it should warrant some creativity from the School District. If we could even get 30 more students on a bus (and out of cars) to McPolin, Jeremy Ranch, Parley’s Park, or Ecker Hill it could take substantial pressure off of our roads at peak times, make school parking lots safer, reduce the number of accidents, and cut down traffic entering and exiting our schools.
I hope the school board will listen to Ms Brown and work to find a solution that benefits everyone.
If you’d like to sign Ms Brown’s petition, you’ll find it here.
If you’d like to contact the School Board or Administrative personnel on the issue, their email addresses are below: