Linn-Mar parents concerned about lack of sidewalks as students return to school

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 6:23 PM CDT
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MARION, Iowa (KCRG) - As students in the Linn Mar school district return to classes this week - for some in person, some parents are worried about how their elementary school kids are actually getting to school.

“We have eight children alone just in our cul de sac alone that are going to two different schools. Each of them are expected to walk down this potentially unsafe walk path,” said Alan Rutan.

Rutan lives on Oak Savannah Court near the intersection of Indian Creek Road. He has 2 kids in the Linn-Mar Community School District, and says as they begin school in person this week, getting to school is one of his main concerns.

“I moved to this new home February 22nd. I just assumed we would have bus service because there’s no connecting sidewalks,” he said.

However, he soon learned from neighbors and the district that would be changing from years past, and many in their neighborhood group of school-age kids will trek this road about a mile and a half to get to either Boulder Peak Intermediate or Indian Creek Elementary School.

“For a about a city block, we have no sidewalks along Indian Creek Road, which is a very heavily traveled road and people don’t really pay attention when they drive,” Rutan said.

TV9 spoke with several other parents in the neighborhood off camera who say in the past they’ve had the experience of the bus coming right up to their door to pick kids up. Parents including Rutan say they reached out to the district, but were told their decision would not change.

A statement to TV9 from the District Superintendent, Shannon Bisgard, said, “The District sought the services of a school transportation consultant and changes were made to our routes. We worked to assure that we met state eligibility guidelines to provide consistent bus service across our district.”

According to the guidelines, elementary and middle school students who reside more than two miles from their school will get bus service and for high schoolers more than 3 miles. But, parents like Rutan say under their circumstances - safety should be more of a priority.

“There’s a development to the north of us that’s like a .9 mile walk to the New Boulder Peak, and they have bus service so it’s inconsistent to say the least,” he said. “I just find it to be very unrealistic they expect them to walk on a road that’s actually hazardous to their livelihood.”

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