Parents say new busing boundaries compromise safety

- SOUTH JORDAN, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – The wheels on the bus go round and round through Holly Jones’ neighborhood, but all of the sudden her kids can't get on.

"We sent our daughter on the bus the beginning of the school year and then she came home and said she was no longer allowed to take the bus," says Jones.

According to state law Jones now lives within one and a half miles of East Lake Elementary. Why did that change from last year? Bus routes are based on public access. That means if a new road or even a sidewalk goes in, it makes a home closer to a school.

"We have lots of concerned parents in the neighborhood. No one dares to send their kids to school," says Jones.

That concern centers around the walk to school. Crossing 4000 West and 11400 South without a cross guard, walking along 11400 South with no sidewalks and cutting through a field designated as a safe walking route. Jones says there is nothing safe about it.

"There's a hidden parking lot up here that anyone could just hide and snatch a kid and no one would even see it happen from the road," says Jones.

The Jordan School District says it can't do anything to address those concerns, because busing routes are set by state law.

"We have to follow that state law, because that's how the state reimburses us for busing transportation," says Communication Manager, Steven Dunham.

The district does acknowledge busses are running through the neighborhood anyway and there is one solution for some of these students. Ten days after the next track starts, on August 22nd, parents can apply for empty seats.

"Whether the bus goes to school empty or full, it costs us the same and we prefer it go to school full," says Dunham.

Dunham says they will likely find room for most of the students who rode the bus last year.

As parents wait for word, they struggle to make sense of what they see as a technicality that turned their lives upside down.

"We see the bus drive by and there's not a lot of kids on the bus and some neighbors qualify for the bus, some don't," says Jones.

You can fill out and turn in applications at your child’s school. The district says it will be on a first come first serve basis.

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