MECHANICSBURG – A Mechanicsburg family is seeking a change to their child’s bus stop, which they deem unsafe.
Jodi and Randy Roach spoke to the Mechanicsburg Exempted Village school board at its Monday meeting.
Jodi Roach said past bus drivers dropped her son off and picked him up in her driveway or in front of it at the mailbox. But this year, Roach’s son’s stop changed to 180 feet from the former stop at the driveway, which is 100 feet from the door to the house,Superintendent Danielle Prohaska said.
Roach said this is on a busy road with no safe walking space on the side of the road. The new stop is on Wren Road by an electric post. The family lives on Catawba-Mechanicsburg Road. She added the spot is just down a hill with poor sight distance, so oncoming cars can’t see anyone in the roadway until it is too late.
She said that snowdrifts in the winter will make it impossible for her child to get to the bus.
“Something needs to be done. The last four years other bus drivers could (use our driveway), but this year we got a new bus driver who for some reason can’t do it,” Roach said. She added they always plow their driveway to make it easy for the bus driver, and even widened their driveway to make it easier to turn around. They also took out some trees that were blocking sight lines.
Jodi Roach said her son was almost hit a couple of times. Until the issue is fixed, she drives her son to school, she said.
Jodi Roach said she spoke with Prohaska and Transportation Supervisor Matt Mayberry before bringing the issue to the board. She was unhappy with Prohaska’s response.
“She answered my questions, but I was not satisfied with it,” Jodi Roach told the board. “When I asked if we could re-route the bus route, she said we’re going to have to agree to disagree and he’s just one kid.”
Roach said she left the meeting after hearing that and wanted an apology from Prohaska for that statement.
“He may be just one kid, but he’s my only kid, and it’s my job to protect him,” she said.
Prohaska said after the meeting she felt that her comment was misunderstood.
“When planning a bus route, we consider the start and stop time of the route, how long all students are on the bus, the path of the route, and student pickup,” she said. “I have to consider the needs of all of our students.”
Prohaska added she expects parents to seek the best for their students, but she has to consider every student.
“I expect my parents to advocate for the safety of their kids,” she said. “It’s my responsibility to think about the safety of all our students. In this situation, I feel we are meeting the safety needs for all of our students. I have to take into account all of the factors when you route students to and from school.”
Board President Dan Gaver thanked Jodi and Randy Roach and said the board would look into all the facts and discuss the issue.
Also at the meeting, the school board selected Freytag and Associates Inc. of Sidney as the architects of record for the school district. The architects will help the board plan for capital improvements such as parking lots and potentially a new athletic facility.
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.