Creekstone parents concerned about their kids walking to Elkins High

By Michael Sudhalter

CreekstoneParentsThree hundred and eighty-parents in the Creekstone Village subdivision – which is located in unincorporated Fort Bend County (near Missouri City) – signed a petition to restore Fort Bend ISD bus service between their homes and Elkins High School.

State law requires that students living more than  two miles away from a campus are provided with bus service, provided there are no safety issues.

Approximately 115 students from Creekstone Village and neighboring Stone Brook walk to Elkins, which is less than two miles away.

The parents contend that safety issues are present. They cite unsafe/incomplete roads and sidewalks, ongoing constructions, crime reports, isolated areas between the subdivision and the school as reasons why their childrens’ safety is compromised.

Parents have said the service was suspended on short notice.

According to FBISD Chief Operating Officer Max Cleaver, the district’s board of trustees voted in July to suspend bus transportation due to the closure of nearby Thompson-Ferry Road.

“The closure of Thompson-Ferry Road resulted in a safe walk path to schools for these students,” Cleaver said.

One parent, Joe Thekkanath, wrote to the district, saying he was “appalled” by the decision to suspend service.

“We would like to bring your immediate attention, our shock and serious concern over the abrupt cancellation of the existing transportation facility just a few days before the opening of the school for 2014-15,” Thekkanath wrote in a letter to district officials and trustees.

Last Wednesday, Cleaver and two FBISD trustees – K.P. George and Kristin Tassin – met with approximately 20 residents to discuss their concerns.

“District officials will reach out to representatives from Fort Bend County and Missouri City to discuss the status of the Thompson- Ferry Road closure and the cross walk completion schedule, which both affect approximately 115 Elkins High School students who walk to school each day. Fort Bend ISD is committed to working with area agencies to ensure a safe route to and from school for our students,” the district said in a statement about the matter.

FBISD board president Grayle James said situations involving student safety must be  a priority.

“If there is not a safe walking route to school, I expect the administration to bring that to the attention of the Board so that appropriate action can be taken,” James said.

The district has hired as new Director of Transportation, Michael Brassfield, who begins this week. Brassfield has more than 30 years of experience in the transportation field and is a former assistant director of transportation for FBISD.

Aside from the Creekstone issue, some parents throughout FBISD complained about service during the opening days of school, which started on Aug. 25.

According to the district, it’s not uncommon for transportation issues to come up during the first few days of school “with enrollments changing daily and teachers, parents and students settling into a routine of arrivals and dismissals.”

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