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Ledyard - After reviewing the most recent enrollment data, the Ledyard Public Schools may add two additional cluster bus stops for out-of district transportation, said Business Manager Jason Lathrop.
"On the first day of school, buses rarely run on time and need a few days before they are able to do so," said Lathrop after school concluded on Tuesday. "Once we have fully developed routes and more accurate pick up and drop off times, we will review all outstanding transportation change requests to arrive at final decisions."
The district is operating with two fewer buses than last year and remapped bus routes to compensate, which left some students - especially those attending out-of-district schools - with a 2- or 3-mile walk to the bus stop, sometimes on busy streets without sidewalks.
The policy manual for the Board of Education includes regulations that stipulate that children should not have to walk more than 2 miles to school. The regulations also say, however, that the district is not obligated to provide transportation for out-of-district students.
Several parents have spoken out in frustration, arguing that the walks are unsafe for their kids. They also have raised issues with what they said was a lack of notification about the changes.
Nancy Walker, a Ledyard resident whose son attends the Interdisciplinary School for Arts and Communication in New London, said she doesn't expect door-to-door service and that her son walked a quarter-mile to the bus stop in fourth and fifth grades. But Walker feels the plan seemed "thrown together in haste."
"Several schools only have one pick-up point," said Walker. "Instead of making the stop a central location, they choose (a) place at the far edge of town."
She said her son's bus stop is now 6 miles away from the previous , with a pick-up time 30 minutes earlier than last year's, information she only found because she happened to check the school's website the night before school started.
Lathrop said the website was updated Aug. 19 - a week before the first day of school - and that letters were sent to families with out-of-district students on Aug. 20. Walker said she did not receive any letter.
The district transports approximately 2,600 students and currently has 29 unresolved requests from families who would like to make changes to their assigned transportation, said Lathrop.
Twenty-three of the requests are for in-district students; six are out-of-district. Site inspections for the pending requests will take place next week, said Lathrop.