Tahoma School District needs to reconsider bus routes to Rock Creek Elementary

Tahoma School District needs to reconsider bus routes to Rock Creek Elementary

Tahoma School District needs to reconsider bus routes to Rock Creek Elementary

I received an email from the Tahoma School District on Aug. 9 regarding “Safe walk routes added to Rock Creek Elementary.”

The email, which was sent less than a month before school starts, indicated that TSD will not longer be providing buses for our neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Not only am I disappointed about the lack of adequate notice TSD provided regarding this change; but I also do not believe that it is safe to expect a 5-year-old to walk a mile to school on busy streets without sidewalks.

Historically our neighborhood has been provided busing by the school district, indicating to me that the walking routes from our neighborhood to Rock Creek Elementary School have been deemed unsafe.

In their email TSD states Maple Valley has completed recent improvements that now make the route safe. I have noted no recent changes to the walking route with the exception of a white painted cross walk on one of the streets. The children still do not have sidewalks to walk on. The children must walk in the shoulder, unless of course there is a car parked in the shoulder, in which case they must walk in the street. I have driven the route the students are expected to walk at several different times of the day and have noted cars parked in the shoulder every single time, which means that the kids will have no choice but to walk in the street in order to get to school. This is not safe.

I also feel that the school district has caught us with a bait and switch. The district asked us to vote for multiple bonds that increased our property taxes to ensure that we receive the same level of service. But then, after we approved the bond, the district removes bus service for our neighborhoods with less than one month’s notice before the school year starts.

I am asking TSD to reconsider their decision to take away buses from students at Rock Creek Elementary. The walking route that has historically been deemed unsafe is still unsafe. The addition of some painted white stripes at one intersection does not significantly improve the safety of a walking route that lacks sidewalks. A high-quality education will do nothing for our children if we cannot get them to school safely.

Heather Runkel

Maple Valley


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