Previously, the ordinance required school zones to be active within a specific time frame tied to schools’ start and end times.
These rigid guidelines have recently caused logistical difficulties by conflicting with the times school zones actually need to be active, according to Hutto ISD Police Chief William Edwards.
“We have a lot of challenges these days in the school zones,” Edwards said. “We have elementaries, middle schools and high schools that share the same geographic boundaries; they share the same times; and we have some overlapping jurisdiction.”
Edwards specifically called out the area near Farley Middle School and Ray Elementary School as being most affected.
To remedy these problems, the amended ordinance takes a more hands-off approach, removing the time requirement and allowing the city manager to freely adjust hours of operation.
The council also voiced concerns over several streets that lack school zones near Hutto High School and Cottonwood Creek Elementary School. Students may have to cross busy streets such as Chris Kelley Boulevard and Limmer Loop with no school zones in order to reach these schools.
“It’s really concerning, the feedback that’s been given,” Council Member Robin Sutton said. “It’s almost like we’re waiting for something to happen to force our hand.”
The amendment to the school zone ordinance passed Sept. 16 does not allow for the addition of new school zones, but the council intends to discuss the issue further at future meetings.