Parents expressed concerns Tuesday about a proposal that would require some students in the Eden Central School District to walk a longer distance to their bus stop during the next school year. They spoke at the district’s annual budget hearing.
In its 2014-15 budget, the district has proposed group pickups on the east side of Main Street between Church Street and Schoolview Road instead of sending buses to the students’ streets.
The change would require some children to walk three-quarters of a mile to the bus stop instead of being picked up closer to home.
Some parents voiced their displeasure with the proposal because children will encounter traffic, cold weather and aggressive dogs.
“Cars come down my street very quickly,” said Jen Horschel, a Weller Drive resident.
She plans to make other transportation arrangements for her daughter.
“There’s no way she’ll walk,” she said.
Another parent raised questions about whether safety measures such as crosswalks will be created.
“My concern is they’ve made a decision without putting the proper safety in place,” said Missy Hartman of Hillbrook Drive, who has a 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.
Superintendent Sandy Anzalone emphasized the district has been discussing possibilities with the town government that include flashing lights at the crosswalk from the elementary school to the Boys and Girls Club.
District and town officials are also considering more school zone speed limits, ticketing drivers for passing on the road’s shoulder, creating additional crosswalks on Schoolview Road and reconfiguring Weller Drive and Schoolview Road.
As for Hillbrook Drive, Anzalone pointed out that the street has sidewalks on both sides.
Parents asked questions and made comments during and after a presentation by Anzalone and Tom Murphy, finance director, in the junior-senior high school’s cafeteria.
District officials have proposed raising the tax levy, the amount collected in local property taxes, by 1.78 percent, which complies with the state’s tax cap requirement.
The $26.4 million budget would increase spending by $676,054 from this year.
More details can be found on the district’s website at edencsd.org.
Residents will vote from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 20 in the junior-senior high school’s auditorium.