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Letter: Preserving yellow bus transportation

Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 11:31 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, May 16, 2014 11:35 p.m. CDT

To the Editor:

The Illinois Senate is considering legislation that will put thousands of schoolchildren at risk, increase traffic congestion and harm the environment.

House Bill 5967 would radically alter the formula that guarantees yellow bus service for all students living at least 1½ miles from school.

Under HB 5967, the minimum distance would increase to 2 miles, adding 172 square blocks, or 43 percent, to each school’s exclusion zone, according to research done by lobbyists for the Illinois School Transportation Association. This “small” change would virtually end bus service at many schools and force tens of thousands of students to find a different way to school.

These alternatives are not good for our economy, our environment or – most importantly – for the safety of our children.

Buses are the safest mode of school transportation. Students going to school are approximately 50 times more likely to get there alive if they take the bus rather than driving themselves or with friends, states www.schoolbusfacts.com. Reducing school bus service increases the chances of more student deaths.

Each bus takes about 34 vehicles off of the road, cutting traffic and the pollution that comes with it, as well as helping to curb student absenteeism and truancy.

Many school districts are actually looking at reducing the 1½ mile minimum due to parent concerns about safety issues and the effect of added traffic congestion on the environment.

Please ask your state senator to vote no on House Bill 5967 and preserve the yellow bus for more students.

Patrick Johnson

President of the Illinois School Transportation Association

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