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Parents fret about safety of walking to Lathrop High

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Parents fret about safety of walking to Lathrop High

Less students will be able to take the bus next school year as part of Manteca Unified budget cuts.

Bulletin file photo/


POSTED April 15, 2009 5:12 a.m.

LATHROP – The no bus zone proposed by Manteca Unified’s department of transportation has some problems for those with students attending school west of Interstate 5.

Currently, the only access to Lathrop High is along Manthey Road frontage and Dos Reis Road. The plan would call for eliminating the eight buses traveling to and from the school in favor of vehicle traffic and students walking or biking to classes.

At Tuesday’s information session regarding this Level II cut by the district – trustees adopted a restructuring plan for transportation on Jan. 13, with a staff report on the extension of walking distances heard on March 24 – nearly two dozen folks from the area were in attendance.

Carla Calix, Charmaine Barajas, and Cynthia Moreno shared the concerns over safety.

All three reside in the Stonebridge subdivision near Joseph Widmer School, and rely heavily on buses to transport their children on a daily basis.

“This could be an accident waiting to happen,” said Barajas. “We have children walking in areas with speeding motorists, maybe fog, and limited (paved) roads.”

In particular, they’re concerned about the yet-to-be-completed Lathrop Road extension leading directly to the front of the campus not being accessible to traffic and pedestrians by the start of next school year. Without that access, parents fear youngsters would use unsafe routes such as Dos Reis and the Manthey frontage to get to school.

Transportation director Jason Osborn, meanwhile, is proposing that board adopt a “no bus zone” to replace the “walking distance” term.

“The term (walking distance) may imply that the district expects students to walk some distance in order to get to school,” he said. “But in reality, we would be leaving the decision as to how a student gains access to the site to the family.”

Osborn unveiled the “radius” or, rather, a point drawn around each of the school sites. Inside that radius, for instance, was deemed a “no bus zone.”

This proposed radius consists of a perimeter of about 1.25 miles from the campus for kindergarten- through eighth-grade students, and 2.5 miles for ninth- through 12th-grade students.

“The elimination of school bus service will place the burden (of getting to school) on families,” Osborn said.

He’s conducting similar-type meetings tonight at 7 p.m. in the East Union High cafeteria, and one on Thursday (7 p.m.) at the Sierra High cafeteria.

In addition, an April 21 meeting is planned at 7 p.m. in the Manteca High speech arts building.

The purpose of the meetings, according to Osborn, is to gather as much feedback from the community to include in his upcoming transportation report.

For more information, call the district office at (209) 825-3200 or access the district’s website at www.mantecausd.net.

Additional comments can also be directed to Osborn at josborn@musd.net.

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