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School bus eligibility has a mother concerned for her child's safety

School Bus
Posted at 3:09 PM, Sep 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 19:32:48-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan.  — A mom is concerned for her daughter's safety getting to and from school after learning her child is not eligible to ride the school bus.

When Brenda MacDonald's daughter started middle school, the new school year was supposed to be exciting as KCKPS students returned to the classroom. However, a new grade level meant changes in who was eligible to ride the school bus.

According to KCKPS, the distance requirement to ride the school bus is eight-tenths of a mile for elementary students. Students who don't qualify can walk to the nearest regular bus stop.

The distance requirement is 1.5 miles for high school and middle school students. Students who don't qualify are not permitted to ride the school bus, according to the district.

MacDonald and her 7th-grade daughter live 1.3 miles away from Carl B. Bruce Middle School, just under the district's eligibility requirements.

Despite the near half-hour walk to and from school, the mom explained her main concern is safety regarding possible sexual predators and speeding cars.

“It’s not fair. There’s no help. I’ve tried to offer to pay for the busing, they won’t let us," MacDonald said.

A spokesperson for KCKPS said in a statement:

"Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools Bus Drivers pick up and drop off 10,500 students every school day. Getting students to and from school safely is our top priority. The district is doing this at a time when school districts across the nation are dealing with a driver shortage, including here in Kansas City, Kansas. The Kansas State Department of Education only provides funding for students who live 2.5 miles or greater. School districts do not receive funding for students who live less than those given miles.

"The KCKPS School Board created additional guidance, allowing more students to be provided transportation. According to district policy, elementary students who live over .8 miles from their school are provided transportation. Secondary students must live over 1.5 miles to receive free transportation. Due to the district’s status when it comes to the number of families that receive free and reduced lunches, KCKPS, unlike other districts, cannot provide an option for families under the listed miles to purchase transportation."

In response to the KCKPS statement, MacDonald said she believes, “Funding is never an issue when it comes to our kids' safety."

While the mother said she can drive her child to school, she is unable to pick her up from school.

“I have had to take off work to go get my kid. I’m going to lose my job if I continue to do it,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald said she has expressed her concerns to district leaders in a school board meeting on Aug. 24 and plans to address them again at another meeting on Sept. 14.

The mom said if no progress is made, she'll gather other parents and stage a protest.