If you have kids in Park City Schools, and depend on the bus, you’ll want to check and see if you need to apply for the waitlist this year. It appears things have changed this year regarding whether many children qualify for automatic bussing.
For instance, in Jeremy Ranch, the Park City School District has decided that they are now treating the paved path between Homestead Rd. and Bluebird Lane as a “safe route” to school. This impacts bussing because a Utah school district only has to bus children who live more than 1.5 miles away from school — via the shortest “safe route” to the school. If your child rode the bus last year, they might not be able to this year because the “shortcut” that the school district is now using to calculate distance is being treated as a walkable path to school. If your child, using this “shortcut” to school, lives less than 1.5 miles away, they will not be provided bus service by default. Instead, you must apply to the waitlist to see if space is available. I have heard from one person that they received a notice of this change, but my neighbors and I have not. So, you may not be aware that your child won’t be bussed later this month.
There are two major problems with this determination. First, Basin Rec who maintains this trail, says that “Basin Recreation currently has an interlocal agreement with Summit County to manage what have been designated as ‘safe routes’ to school. The section of trail that you are referring to is not currently included in that agreement, but Basin Recreation has been treating it as a part of our ‘Safe Routes’ operation.” So, the Park City School District limits bus service based on a trail not officially part of a safe route agreement, and that unapproved route is used to prevent many Jeremy Ranch students from using the bus. Second, and perhaps more troubling, is that the agreement says that Basin Rec has to plow the “safe route” within 12 hours of a snowfall. That timeframe is ridiculous. If children are expected to walk on a trail to and from school, that trail had better be plowed right before school begins and ends. Otherwise, how can it be a safe route? Twelve hours is unacceptable.
Park City Heights also is facing issues. I’ve heard students who go to Treasure Mountain and live in PC Heights won’t get bus service because it’s less than two miles away. Can you imagine your middle schooler walking down Highway 248 to get to school any time of the year — let alone winter. Perhaps the kids could walk on the Rail Trail, but just like in Jeremy, the trail would need to be plowed before and after school.
If you are impacted, call the Park City School District Transportation group at 435-645-5660 to ensure you have bus service.
We’ll have to see how this all shakes out. Perhaps everyone who applies for the waitlist will be served. However, if Park City Schools reduces the number of buses it is using because there are fewer guaranteed students, it is the wrong message to be sending. For those of us fortunate enough to be able to drive our children to school, we’ll be taking more car trips, causing more congestion in places that can’t afford it (Highway 248), and teaching our kids that public transportation isn’t important. If you depend on the bus because of work schedules or other impacts, you may be choosing between your child’s safety and keeping your job. With so much talk about supporting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, changes like these are a slap in the face to many of the people the school district purports to want to help.
As my wife lined up this morning at 7 AM to hand in her paperwork for the waitlist, there was already talk from parents about organizing to bring this to the School Board. It’s just another case where the Park City School District is acting like the Gang that Can’t Shoot Straight. I don’t get it.
Here is a map of a Jeremy Ranch parent received that shows the impact. Only yellow homes are required to receive bus service.