Katy ISD parents upset over reduced bus routes

By Mary Benton , Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

KATY, Texas - Some parents in the Katy Independent School District are upset because their children's bus route has been canceled just before the start of the new school year.

This will have a huge impact on hundreds of students, and some may be forced to walk almost 2 miles, through dangerous intersections, to get to their designated campus.

A district spokesman told KPRC Local 2 that the changes are a result of a shortage of qualified bus drivers.

"This is a very difficult decision as we knew it would impact many families who rely on bus transportation for their children," Katy ISD spokesman Steve Standford said.

The changes were supposed to impact families who live within 1 mile of their designated campus, but one family said they live more than 2 miles from their child's school.

Duane Soots said he isn't upset that his stepson has to walk to school, but he is concerned about the potential problems.

"It is a safety issue, not just for my child but for all the children. They're not going to be able to get to school safely," said Soots.

Lane Johnson, a 14-year-old eighth-grader who will attend West Memorial Jr. High, said he's concerned about the traffic.

"I've never really walked to school, so I don't know how it's going to turnout," said Johnson.

Johnson has three possible routes to walk to school, but one route will take him along the busy intersection of Kingsland and Peak, where there are no sidewalks. His second option is to take a shortcut through his family's subdivision and walk near a bayou.

"You have the possibility of snakes and other animals down there, and it's also a known area for fights and drug usage," said Soots. 

Parents in other neighborhoods are also speaking out and taking action.

The Seven Meadows Community held a forum Thursday night to discuss the elimination of key school bus service and safety issues.

"What we've experienced in the past is the kids were able to go to the bus stop on whichever corner was closest, jump on the bus in the morning," said parent Alison Scott. 

Scott said a walk to school from home could take 45 minutes across busy streets. 

"There is also a waterway and there is a bridge that does not have a guard rail. So, there is a 30 foot drop where the kids could fall right into the bayou. So, we're very concerned about that," she said.

Katy ISD said it is adding sidewalks, patrols and crossing guards at some of its schools. The district said it would restore service when and if resources become available.  Parents said they will pack the August 28th school board meeting to try and get their bus service back.

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