The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 4, 2013

School officials: Journey is safe

By SHELLEY TERRY - sterry@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

ASHTABULA —  Crossing guards, school resource officers, teachers, administrators and two additional police officers were on duty Thursday at Ashtabula Area City Schools to assist students on their way to and from school.

It was the second day of the school district’s new minimum busing policy designed to save the district $750,000, and allow it to end the year on the plus side financially, according to the resolution passed by the school board in September.

The busing changes mean the district completely eliminated transportation of students in grades 9-12, and students in grades K-8 who live less than two miles from the school.

Acting Superintendent Patrick Colucci said it’s an unfortunate situation, but the administrators and school resource officers have made the procedures as safe as possible.

“We put a lot of work into this transition,” he said. “Safety is our No. 1 priority.”

Most parents chose to drive their children to school on Wednesday and Thursday, resulting in long lines of cars going into the Lakeside Elementary Campus on Wade Avenue.

There are no sidewalks leading to the schools, and about a dozen children walked along Cemetery Road or on the berm of the heavily traveled Wade Avenue. 

Before Christmas vacation, school resource officers put together safety procedures for the students and went over the steps with them, Colucci said.

He also encourages parents to carpool with neighbors and relatives to cut down on the traffic.