Round Rock parents upset over school bus route changes

FILE - Round Rock ISD bus (KXAN File Photo)
FILE - Round Rock ISD bus (KXAN File Photo)

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — More kids may have to use the sidewalks to get to school. Round Rock Independent School District says 10 runs that used to be hazardous aren’t a problem now, and that means kids along the routes may not get to ride the school bus. The district only provides bus rides to kids who live at least two miles from their school, unless you live along a hazardous route.

Mireya Ortega and her friend try to stay safe by staying on the sidewalk, especially while pushing her friend’s baby in the stroller. “It’s really dangerous,” she said.

According to Round Rock ISD, a run is defined as a single bus’ transportation of students to and from their neighborhood to a school. A route is defined as a bus driver’s three runs in a given pick-up or drop-off period, which includes an elementary school run, a middle school run and a high school run.

Las Brisas apartment complex is one of the routes that is no longer considered hazardous because there are now sidewalks. The district says a lack of sidewalks or a construction zone usually makes a route hazardous.

Mireya’s daughter rides the bus from Las Brisas. She says if the district makes the change, she’ll have to start driving her child, but it’s not that easy for every family.

“There are parents who rely on the school bus,” says Mireya. And even though there are sidewalks now, she knows kids who have to walk to school are still at risk. “Some of those cars don’t know what they’re doing and then there’s kids that are walking and sometimes you don’t even see them because of the traffic.”

Even though the district no longer considers these 10 runs hazardous, the district still has about 100 hazardous runs.

Thursday night, the district will explain why they don’t consider these 10 areas hazardous anymore, and they’re taking your questions and concerns. They’ll then present that information to the school board in March, and vote on the plan in April. That’s also when we may see some new hazardous runs approved.

The meeting Thursday starts at 6:30 p.m. in the lecture hall at Stony Point High School, located at 1801 Tiger Trail in Round Rock.

There will be two other meetings:

  • Round Rock High School 700 building cafeteria, 300 Lake Creek Drive, Round Rock, 6:30 p.m. on February 9
  • McNeil High School lecture hall, 5720 McNeil Road, Austin, 6:30 p.m. on February 11

Round Rock ISD has a specific process in place to see if students are eligible to get on a bus route.

Officials say they evaluate the pick-up area every time a new campus opens. They actually use a wheel that measures the number of feet from neighborhoods to the campus flagpole.
Car odometers aren’t used because they can be inaccurate.

If a home is within two miles of the school, students are typically not eligible for bus service, but there are some exceptions. A student can ask to get a school bus permit if they are near a route that is not crowded.

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