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Oak Ridge Schools revert to old bus plan | News

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Oak Ridge Schools revert to old bus plan


For the time being, the Oak Ridge school board is doing away with its walk to school zone. The decision comes after parents voice concern about children making it to school safely.

Critics focused on that mile-and-a-half walk zone saying it was too much ground for young kids to cover going to and from school.

This plan is actually the same one the schools used last year. School leaders will need to use $300,000 in emergency funds to cover related costs. Even though many parents see this as a win, some say it is only delaying the problem.

Anthony Hollon helps take his niece to and from school everyday, because she lives within the original walk zone.

"It's definitely a lot better because definitely there is not as much concerns of the kids being out by themselves. Being out in the weather. You know, the school buses help the kids get back and forth and it helps not leave them out there alone," said Hollon.

The school board decided to end the plan for walk zones at Monday night's meeting right after hearing from parents.

"I would rather kids be safe out here rather than let them be stuck in pouring rain and thunderstorms. Some kids go to school and they are under umbrellas but they still are going to be soaking wet when they get to school. Then they have to sit there all day wet, and they can't get changed or nothing else so it is sorry you guys are stuck. Hopefully you don't get sick," said Hollon.

The schools had to take the money from funds set aside for emergencies, and since the decision applies to this year only, the future is still up in the air.

"Next year they are saying we are going to be short the money they put back in. Does that mean they will be able to pull it back from now until then?" said Hollon.

The schools also had to let some of their former bus drivers go to begin the walk zone plan. Now they are left looking for a way to fill the spots, which they hope to do within two months.

The walk zones were originally made to help the schools cut costs on a tight budget. The school system suggested a property tax increase to pay for the bus routes, but the city council turned down the proposal.


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