ALLPORT – Armed with newspaper clippings and other facts, several Karthaus Township parents attended Monday’s West Branch Area School District board meeting to discuss a bus route.
The issue is not one foreign to the board, on the contrary, it is an issue that has been coming up for about a year.
Tina Moore said that this year, her children’s school bus route was changed nine weeks into the year. Before the change, the bus ride to and from school took about one and one-half hours. Now, that same ride takes three hours.
“If the board is here on behalf of the children, why would you make such a decision?” asked Aaron Moore.
The old route began picking up students in Pottersdale before going on to Karthaus and then traveling out Askey Road and going on to West Branch. Now the route travels out Askey Road first and then through Karthaus and finally to Pottersdale. The bus makes one stop near Askey Road before traveling to school.
When the issue was first brought up, a group of parents said the road was not maintained well in the winter months, posing a safety risk for students.
Another Karthaus Township parent, Jennifer Thomas, said that her son used to have about two hours to do homework, eat dinner and get back to school for football practice. With the change, he now arrives home at 4:45 p.m. and has to be back at school at 5:30 p.m. for practice. “There’s just not enough time,” Thomas said.
The trip out Askey Road from the main road is about two miles long, and since the initial complaints, Thomas said the board has not received any more calls about the “unsafe” road.
Karthaus Township Supervisor Thomas Longe said, “No it is not unsafe,” adding that the road is probably in the best shape it has been in 100 years.
“There’s 126 miles of roads in Karthaus Township. We’ve been on every one of them this year, and they’re all in pretty good shape.”
After hearing from the parents, the board went into executive session for at least two hours. A board member said no action would be taken on the Askey Road issue during the October meeting. The next meeting of the West Branch Area School District Board of Education will be Nov. 27 at 7 p.m.