D51 families adjust to new extended walking boundaries

By: Taylor Temby Email
By: Taylor Temby Email

School District 51 students are finishing up their first week back to class, but not without some big changes. KKCO 11 News found out how families are coping with the new school walking boundaries.

The past week has been a whirlwind for Lori Kirkpatrick.

"We have kind of a crazy schedule," Kirkpatrick said.

Her second and fifth graders no longer have a bus in the mornings due to the new extended walking boundaries, meaning their world is upside-down. District 51 budget cuts left her kids with a 2.1 mile walk across Patterson Road to Orchard Avenue Elementary, something Kirkpatrick won't stand for.

"As a parent, I wouldn't let a kindergartener walk that way, I mean, you have to re-arrange your whole schedule to make this work," she said. "The girls, I usually wake them up by 5:30 a.m. or so," Kirkpatrick said.

To get to work on time, Kirkpatrick’s kids are dropped off at a friend's house early in the morning.
She heads to work, and then her friend takes all four elementary school students to East Middle School to drop off her oldest. They go back to the house for some time, before leaving again to drop off the elementary school students.

Kristin Thomas' middle and high school students would also be new walkers this year.

"I feel really blessed that we're able to take our kids to school,” Thomas said. "Most people in the workforce work from 8 to 5."

With extra seatbelts, the Thomas family is more than happy to help other students in the neighborhood catch a ride to school.

"That’s exactly why I think it's a problem, is for the kids that don't have access to rides," Thomas said.

The new extended walking routes mean parents are looking for other options. Grand Valley Transit is already getting questions from parents about its buses and whether or not stops can be modified to fit the school start and end times. GVT says with the cutbacks on school buses, they expect a increase in their service.

Like many other families, Kirkpatrick and her girls have had to adjust to life without a bus, but she’s willing to do whatever it takes for her children.

"I just wish they would've give us some more options instead of telling us this is the way it is," Kirkpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick also sent a letter requesting that the school district reconsider giving students in her neighborhood a bus, as they are beyond the 2 mile walking limit for elementary school students. The school district is expected to discuss her request next week.

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  • by Hummmmm.. on Aug 25, 2012 at 10:26 PM
    Maybe we should STOP ALL Buses. Offer the bus driver the job of crossing guards. No one is out of a job. and the kids ALL get the same treatment.
  • by REALLY Location: GRANDJUNCTION on Aug 24, 2012 at 09:00 PM
    • reply
      by suzan on Aug 25, 2012 at 09:50 AM in reply to REALLY
      if the D51 administration people use district cars they are one of the few districts in the state to have that option. Most districts simply pay mileage and according to the IRS guidelines that starts at your first stop of the work day and ends at the last. driving from home is not included. Most districts use the IRS mileage amount as the reimbursement amount. The 4 day work week has lots of other issues with it. Teacher and other employee pay would be the same as the overall number of hours would still need to meet the state required guidelines. In addition you then are asking parents to find daycare for a workday they probably don't have to do right now. It has lots of advantages as well, but I don't believe it would have enough savings to justify it. You also have to factor in the sports programs which are an important tool to developing many skills for the kids as well as allowing them to compete with other schools and earn chances for scholarships. no answer is perfect and nothing is going to work for everyone.
  • by Lissa Location: Clifton on Aug 24, 2012 at 08:14 PM
    If the school board would have gone to the four day school week last year, like most of the community wanted them to, perhaps the bus boundaries could have remained the same. Perhaps, a child is seriously injured or killed walking in the dark or in dangerous weather, our uneducated school board would get a clue as to what this community really needs. When our testing scores decline due to reading aids and other support staff cuts, it will still be everyone’s fault but theirs. All they care about are test scores, not if a child is ill or did not have breakfast the morning of the test. It matters not to them any of the variables that go on in our community, or how hard our parents work to care for their families. They just want to look good on paper and talk about how they saved our school district by running it like a cold, unfeeling business. The embarrassingly ignorant comments made by one school board member, in the local newspaper, only reinforce my belief that changes need to be made. How do we go about recalling the school board? I will be the first one to sign the recall documents.
  • by Oops Location: Grand Junction on Aug 24, 2012 at 06:19 PM
    I wonder if parents would be willing to pay $5 a month so their kids could get a ride to school. Its too bad they never had that option.... wait.
  • by Duh on Aug 24, 2012 at 03:36 PM
    Home schooled kids didn't have to walk to school (or be driven in the family SUV.) How unkind of those tax payers to decline to pay more for people to keep their excessive lifestyles.
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