With a new campus and changing construction projects, Leander ISD has released its proposed changes to district bus routes for the 2017-18 school year.
Each year, transportation staff in the school district analyze current bus routes and recommend changes based on what areas have been deemed “hazardous” within the two-mile radius of the schools.
While students living outside the two-mile radius are automatically included in bus routes each year, those within the radius are not. LISD has a walk-to-stop policy that sets up bus stops so that elementary students have to walk a maximum of two long blocks to their stop, while secondary students are required to walk a maximum of five-tenths a mile to their bus stop.
However, some areas within the two miles can be deemed hazardous by the district, which could lead to more or less bus routes.
Chief Facilities and Operations Officer Jimmy Disler said each year a committee is put together to reassess roads and growth in subdivisions.
“We always monitor those areas and pathways to walk to school,” Disler said.
The district is proposing discontinuing 12 routes, changes that might impact about 430 students. These include discontinuing transportation service to and from:
- Reagan Elementary for students living within the Reserve at Brushy Creek neighborhood. Sidewalks along Brushy Creek Road are now complete.
- Rouse High School for students living in the Stewart Crossing neighborhood. Sidewalk construction is complete along Raider Way. This discontinuation does not impact any students, as it is a new neighborhood.
- Cedar Park High School for students living in the Bella Vista neighborhood. Sidewalk construction is complete along Dies Ranch Road.
- Cedar Park Middle School for students living in the Bella Vista neighborhood north of and including Plaza Bella Way due to the Dies Ranch Road sidewalks. Students living south of Plaza Bella Way live more than two miles from school and will continue to receive transportation services.
- Whitestone Elementary for students living in the Fairways at Crystal Falls neighborhood due to the community neighboring Whitestone Elementary.
- Leander Middle School for students living in the Magnolia Creek neighborhood and for students living along S. West Drive, Lacey Drive, Glass Drive and Sheila Drive. To help keep students safe, the district is recommending adding a crossing guard at S. West Drive and Sonny Drive.
- Vista Ridge High School, Henry Middle School and Ronald Reagan Elementary for students living in the Abrantes neighborhood and Cottages at Abrantes. A roadway construction project is complete that connects Glacial Stream Lane.
- Winkley Elementary for students living along Oakwood Drive, Adrian Drove, Oak Hollow Drive and Castlewood Trail due to completion of sidewalks along Bagdad Road.
- Plain Elementary for students living in the Northside Meadow and Oak Creek neighborhoods. Sidewalks along S. Brook Drive are now complete.
- Reed Elementary for students living in the Cypress Creek Townhomes due to completion of sidewalks and roadway along Little Elm Trail.
- Naumann Elementary for students living in the Cypress Bend neighborhood. The discontinuation would come with the addition of crossing guards to assist students crossing Cypress Creek Road. The district also recommends extending the school zone time frames along Cypress Creek Road to include elementary school hours.
- Stiles Middle School for students living in the Trails at Shady Oaks neighborhood as well as students living in the Parkside at Mayfield Ranch neighborhood to the southeast of Parkside Parkway up to, and including, Atlanta Park Loop. The change is because of addition of four-way stop signs at County Road 175 and Journey Parkway, and the district is instead recommending the addition of crossing guards to help students cross County Road 175.
With the addition of Monta A. Jane Akin Elementary School in the fall, district staff recommended two changes to routes. Disler recommended designating a hazardous area within two miles of the new school, which would require students to walk along or cross Ronald Reagan Boulevard. The area includes the Cold Springs, Hazlewood and Caballo Ranch neighborhoods, as well as Catalina Ranch due to the lack of a traffic-controlled pedestrian crossing on Journey Parkway.
The area immediately surrounding the school would be non-hazardous, which includes the Pecan Creek neighborhood.
Disler said he worked this year to send the proposed changes to the various campuses earlier than in previous years to give them time to review the maps.
Trustee Aaron Johnson asked if it would helpful to present the changes as proposed to the public and ask for feedback within a certain time frame. Disler said while the committee can go back and reassess an area, they work to be consistent across the district. Once the changes are officials, notifications will be sent out to affected households.
The item is expected to be on the agenda for approval at the April 20 board of trustees meeting.
The changes would go into effect in the fall if approved.