Stone's throw too close

What's one-tenth of a mile? To a local family, it's a matter of riding the bus to Norwalk High School or walking 45 minutes each way.
Aaron Krause
Jul 25, 2010

What's one-tenth of a mile?

To a local family, it's a matter of riding the bus to Norwalk High School or walking 45 minutes each way.

To Norwalk City Schools officials, it is a matter of following district regulations.

Norwalk resident Stacey Maynard, who has two teenagers in school, disagrees with district officials about the distance between her home, 55 Milan Ave. and the high school, 350 Shady Lane Drive.

According to the Ohio Revised Code, public school districts in the state may, but are not required to, provide transportation for high school students. Each school board, the law states, has the right to set limits as to which students can ride. The Norwalk City Schools Board of Education has voted to offer transportation to high school students living two or more miles from school.

Dustin Brown, the district's director of support services, said he and Superintendent Wayne Babcanec have measured the distance twice each. The result each time: 1.9 miles. Maynard said she looked up the mileage on www.mapquest.com, and it came out to a little more than two miles. Maynard's older son Brian, 25, said he drove the route with Babcanec, and the distance was 1.9 miles. However, Brian said he also drove the route himself, and the result was more than two miles.

Brown said he and Babcanec measured the distance by taking the most direct route, as required by state law. They started at the bus lane at Norwalk High School, went out of the parking lot, took a right onto Shady Lane, a right on Norwood Avenue, a left on Benedict Avenue and a right onto Main Street and a left onto Milan Avenue to the residence.

Brown said he and Babcanec stand by their measurements.

So, since Maynard lives less than two miles from the school, her teenagers, 15-year-old Leslie and 16-year-old Christopher, walk 45 minutes each way to and from school when they cannot get a ride. They leave home at about 6:30 a.m. on walking days.

Brian had been taking them, but said he's been busy since having a baby with his girlfriend. Stacey Maynard said she does not have a vehicle, while her husband is at work before Leslie and Christopher go to school. Christopher does not yet have a driver's license.

Brian Maynard said he doesn't think it is fair his siblings have to walk 45 minutes each way.

"What are the kids supposed to do come a rainy cold day?" he asked rhetorically. "They expect them to walk in it. What's it hurting, a couple extra couple kids getting on the bus."

View Larger Map

The map above shows the route from 55 Milan Ave. to Norwalk High School. Google Maps calculates the distance at 2.0 miles.

Brown said he is not singling out the Maynards. In fact, he estimated he gets 10 such complaints from parents each school year. The largest surge in calls, he said, come when children are entering high school. Brown said that is probably because through eighth grade, Norwalk City Schools' students were eligible to ride the bus if they lived a mile or more from their respective school. As they enter high school, that suddenly changes to two miles or more.

Brown said it all boils down to his requirement to follow the rules established by the school board and the Ohio Revised Code.

"I'm not trying to be insensitive to the situation, but unfortunately I have a policy that I have to enforce," he said. "(The Maynards) are not the only ones that are in this condition. This is not a conspiracy against one family; this is about being bus-eligible."

In fact, Brown said he thinks school officials are being more than fair. He noted the Ohio Revised Code stipulates that kindergarten through eighth grade students living more than two miles from the school are eligible to ride.

"Our school board has chosen to exceed the Ohio Revised Code by doing one mile or more," he said. "The school board has chosen to do more for the community than required."

But, the prospect of walking in frigid weather worries Brian Maynard.

"It concerns me a lot because I don't think any kid should walk in it," he said. "I've worked in it eight hours, 10 hours a day."

Brian said his siblings are concerned as well: They're not looking forward to having to walk during the chill of winter.

Comments

swiss family......

sorry mr and mrs. Maynard, but rules are rules .. and there has to be a cut off point somewhere . you just happen to be on the wrong side of the line .Norwalk does have a taxi service , for those extremely cold days , though

Same here (Anon...

Had a similar situation. 1.9 miles by the most direct route. Just remember it at the ballot box as it shouldn't be too much longer before they want to dig into our pocketbooks again. I do wonder about those 'exceptions' who are allowed to ride, who live within two miles, because of a bad knee or leg but who readily jump around on trampolines, jump out of trees, etc.

Let's not make the school board unhappy or inconvenience them. Let's use the same tactic they use when they ask us to vote for the tax increases. 'It's about the kids.' By all means, it is about the kids. Just need proper stewards for this property tax and income tax that keeps pouring into the district. And, what about those district report cards? Nice return on investment.

Tax Payer (Anon...

For as much money that the Norwalk School District makes off us every year through taxes and other school functions, why can't NSD just hire another driver or two. If you take a drive by the Transportation Garage, you will always see a few extra buses. The ONLY thing that I will agree with Dustin "Stinkin" Brown on is that this is system wide. Anyone who has had to drop off / pick up their kids at Pleasant and / or Main Street (not discounting the other schools, it is just that these are the ones that I have experienced) knows of the mess that I'm referring too. One of these days, a kid is going to be hit by a car and it will be partially because the crossing guards aren't completely controlling the situation - Norwalk School District will be sued and it will cost more than a couple of bus driver incomes. All could be avoided! I feel bad for any of the kids that will be forced to walk in the bad weather come winter because Norwalk isn't always the quickest to announce a school closing. What is going to happen when some of these kids set out on their walk to school before school is cancelled??? I can tell you, they'll trudge through the snow, ice, and sleet for 45 minutes to get to a warm school with locked doors only to trudge back through the same conditions while getting sick along the way and missing the rest of the week of school because they are sick. Norwalk City Schools are trying to save a buck at the potential expense of having kids dangerously walking in the bitter winter weather.

Katie (Anonymous)

I had the same problem when I was in high school it was 1.8 miles I think but at any rate I had to walk or get a ride. I don't seen how one-tenth of a mile is going to hurt anyone and 45 minutes to walk in the morning is rediculous to me it is still dark then what if something were to happen to one of these kids that time of day? After school a 45 minute walk home puts them home I would think 315 or so problematic for them to get homework done in a timely manner, have dinner and get ready for the next day and what if they have jobs as many teens are expected to. I don't see the harm in letting people so close to the guidlines on the bus. I am sure there are a few empty seats.

AGREE WITH MAYN...

I COMPLETELY AGREE THAT WE SHOULD FIND TRANSPORTATION FOR THESE KIDS. NORWALK IS SO CONCERNED ABOUT ENFORCING THE LAWS, BUT YET JUST ENCOURAGING KIDS TO FIND TROUBLE WHEN THEY HAVE TO WALK 45 MINUTES OR MORE TO AND FROM SCHOOL. MY 9 YEAR OLD SON LIVES MORE THAN 1.5 MILES FROM HIS SCHOOL AND STILL HAS TO WALK, EVEN THOUGH THERE IS A BUS STOP TO THE SAME SCHOOL THE NEXT STREET OVER!! ITS RIDICULOUS! MAYBE NORWALK POLICE SHOULD ESCORT SOME OF THESE KIDS INSTEAD OF LOOKING FOR REASONS TO ARREST GOOD CITIZENS FOR HAVING A GOOD TIME!! TYPICAL FOR NORWALK!!

Same here Part ...

Another item to consider; Two miles effectively eliminates a bulk of Norwalk opening to the north of League Street. West to Valley Park. The 300 block of S. Norwalk Road to the East. The 2400 block of Ridge Road to the south.

Of the current board members; Grose and Broz are outside the two mile distance, Lendrum and Truxell are 1.7 miles away from the high school. I do not know if Lendrum or Truxell have kids in the high school. Surely if they do they will be walking those 1.7 miles or getting a ride to comply with district policy.

Ludwig is .9 miles away. Let's hope there is not a bus stopping on Norwood to give a special trip. Then again, this is Norwalk.

This information was obtained on the district Web Site.

To draw out a point from the story conerning Brown. Yes, the district has chosen to do more for the community than required. Is a Director of Support Services required? Couldn't the duties be delegated to other positions? Babcanec sounds like he is handling most of the bus duties at present.

Like we have been told, things can always be trimmed.

Missy (Anonymous)

I had a similar situation when my son went to League school. There was a trailer court behind our house and the bus stop for those kids was in MY DRIVEWAY!!!! They would not let my son ride the bus because our house was within the 1 mile but the kids living behind us was just outside the 1 mile. I told them to move the bus stop and they refused.

Chris (Anonymous)

Something else to consider is that buses travel through the "non-bus" zone anyway, how come they can't just stop and pick up.

Sitting In the ...

this is ridiculous im on my way to work they stop at almost every driveway, 2 miles what a joke you live in norwalk you pay norwalk taxes both city and school not to mention all the extra fee's schools tack on and they make these children walk. Oh but then these elected officals might make just a little less each month.....Thats it IM running for some elected position in this town. My first act firing every other elected "offical" start from scratch but like mentioned this is norwalk and we elected morons.

Sitting In the ...

I got an Idea lets all as a community not pay city and school taxes what are they gonna do arrest the whole town that i think will send them a clear message.

a norwalk paren...

I also live 1.9 miles from NHS. Kids in the next block take the bus and there is a bus stop near my house. My kids are walkers. I do have a way around the situation though. I know of some high school age kids that caught the bus from their "babysitter's" house which happened to be outside the 2 mile range. It worked for them. It's worth a try. I also have a problem with the bus stop at Pleasant Street school. There is no light or shelter. The school zone lights are not flashing for the high school middle school kids in the morning. Yet, way before the elementary school starts, at around 8:00, the school zone lights are flashing. I can't seem to figure this out. I don't think it's safe in this day and age to send your kids to walk a few blocks to the bus stop in the dark where they will stand in the dark to wait for a bus. The also seems to be a big accident waiting to happen.

swiss family......

oh my gosh , i can't believe what i am reading .. these poor kids have to walk to school ?? in the cold! in the rain ! wwwaaaaaaaaa it brings a tear to my eyes just thinking about these poor freezing kids ! get real .. there has to be restrictions and limitations made , and the lines have been drawn , and the Maynards don't qualify for rididng the bus . plain and simple , well couldn't we just make an exception for these kids , NO ! if we did that , what about the people who live next to them , and then , next to them ... i have an idea . get your kids a bike .. that's what we did !

RE: swiss famil...

you tool!

Norwalk TAX PAY...

I agree with Norwalk City Schools on this issue. There has to be a guideline for the distance that kids walk. Check out other districts to see how far those kids have to walk. I am SURE that Norwalk is doing the same if not better. And as for the comment on just hire a couple of new drivers - whatever. To bus that many children would take a whole lot more than a few drivers. As for the Swiss family, get your children some bikes. American teenagers are heavier than ever let them walk or ride a bike. Excerise is GOOD. Oh more thing....Dustin "Stinkin" Brown what are we 2!!!!!!!!!!!!

Norwalk TAX PAY...

Sorry, I apologize I wrote the Swiss family instead of the Maynard family!

Tax Payer (Anon...

1) There are a TON of empty seats on most of the buses now, it won't take that many more drivers to fix this situation. What Norwalk City Schools are doing is putting a price tag on our childrens' safety when it comes to walking to school in the frigid northern Ohio winter weather.
2) If you've ever met Dustin Brown, you would understand my frustration with him. He is a jerk and has singled out my daughter for trouble on the bus when other kids around her were causing trouble.
3) As for "getting your kids a bike"; ever try to ride a bike in the snow and ice??? It doesn't work so well!

I'm still reeli...

that swiss family procreated and we have them to look forward to running our country. Great. That's just great.

Waa Waa Waa - G...

You chose to have the kids, YOU should drive them to school if you are SSSSOOOOO concerned. Why is it always the school's/taxpayers' responsibility to raise your children? I no longer have children in school, yet my taxes are not lowered. ...and too sick because of cold weather - where did you get your license to practice medicine. Some fresh air might do them good - as will a little exercise! Oh, as far as the school zone lights - you should contat the Police Dept. and another thing..."the police should escort them" you've got to be kidding me. We are talking HS kids - in 4 years they will be adults. They may as well get used to a little hardship! Besides, the police are busy already arresting kids because they don't know how to behave - because you parents have given them everything. ...and if you don't like the weather in Ohio - MOVE! People - YOU HAVE CHOICES. Take some responsibility for crying out loud, or stop having sex and making babies for ALL OF US to support.

not just norwal...

This isn't just a policy Norwalk has. Most, if not all schools have a policy just like this. It's just the way it is. It can't be fun for the kids to get up that early, but if they are sophomores/freshmen, then they have to have at least 1 friend who can drive on days when the brother can't give them a ride.

when I was a ki...

we car pooled with a teacher who lived down the street. Some teachers might want to consider doing this-that was over 30 years ago, and I still admire that teacher for doing that for us. And by the way, swiss family, do you make your kids ride their bikes to school in the snow? Half the people in Norwalk don't shovel thier sidewalks-they wait till spring when it melts. (These are the same people who still have their Christmas lights up from last year, too by the way.)

skaterchick (An...

Oh my goodness. It sounds to me like some Norwalk residents need to move to another school district because the grass is always greener on the other side. Guess what? You won't be missed.

RE:skatersh-t&p...

You need to stick to myspace where a fool would care for your rude comments!Grow up!Norwalk should be picking these kid's up, it is the right thing to do!They could always make cutbacks elsewhere in the budget, starting with salaries!!!With crime the way it is today, god forbid something could happen!If it were, I would be there to help support this family.Saying these Nlk. Residents should move is just naive on your part Sksht.They have the right to voice themselves on such a serious issue!When you give birth to another person, you want to shelter them from all the negative elements possible.This means you want to care for them & protect them!From bad weather& bad people!So the school should not boast as to say-that their within their right.Because, this is just proving another time that officials DON'T care about the taxpayer's-they are only after your wallet!!It's always "what you can do for me,but NEVER what we can do for you!!"I would like to see some local officials stop by sometime & say "hey-looks like you could use a hand, how about me helping you?"

gas$ (Anonymous)

i'm proud to say that i have NOT,bought gas in Norwalk for over 7 weeks!i will continue doing so, as long as it takes!!

***** (Anonymous)

**norwalk wake up,& help all these kid's out!afterall- the city states on their little signs-Norwalk is a kids place! prove it!!do the right thing!!maybe the school should cut back on sports signs & such& use the money towards borrowing or renting a van to pick up these kids.since they won't use their precious buses!and i'm sure they would have some good seatbelts in them too!do the right thing for god's sake!please!!!

Re: Waa Waa Waa...

You are not raising our children by any means. Last time I looked I paid money into Social Security, believe some of my tax money goes toward Service for the Aging, and blindly support numerous other programs I either am not or never will use. This is not a gripe. It is simply how it is.

However, I do have three children in this school system, I graduated from this school system, my wife graduated from this school system. We obtained our college education and, unlike many others, WE CAME BACK!!!

I see our property tax bill and I see the SDIT taxes on our pay records. There is a Homestead Exemption for your property taxes that will cut away your obligation.

I don't see anyone asking YOU to raise our children. I see people asking for accountability from NUMEROUS, well paid administrators and elected officials in our school system.

I do not have a medical license, however, could you post evidence of yours since your recommendation that fresh air and exercise seems to be medical advice. While you are at it, when we are being iced down here in February, I will join you for the exercise you recommend and walk 1.9 miles both ways. I just want the board members and administrators with us.

And RE: Skaterchick, my oldest enjoys skateboarding and I support it. I don't support it because someday he may be a professional skater as he and I both doubt that. I support it because, when a grade slips or he gets out of line, the skateboard is easy to confiscate and be replaced with a nice chore such as mowing the lawn with a pushmower, helping his grandparents with their lawn/housework, or writing out his assignments until he gets the answers right. We don't need to move. The grass is always green here. Until it snows that is, then the walks are nice and open, salted, and ready to melt for spring.

Try it sometime. Lawnmowinchick might suit you well.

For the record, to take more of Waa Waa Waa's steam away, I have NEVER voted in favor of any tax levy, school or otherwise. This is simply to add to the no votes, even when I know the levy will be successful, so these taxing entities do not get so secure in their requests to seek new taxes.

Boo Hoo (Anonymous)

Are there no other kids nearby that they can get a ride from? Come on,instead of complaining find a solution. Throw somebody a couple bucks for gas and get them a ride.And the nonsense about the 9 year old who walks 1.5 is bogus. More than a mile gets you on the bus for elementarty.Is this really a front page story? This paper is getting rediculous.

re: re: waa waa...

I'm way too young for homestead exemption. I have a lot of work years ahead of me. All I am saying is parents need to find a solution - and the solution isn't always somebody else cleaning up the mess. You choose where to live, the school has limits - you live inside these limits, that's not the school's fault. Maybe you could teach your children how to deal with a tough situation and find a solution together.

re: re: re: waa...

Parents do work with their children through tough situations. When you contribute to a collective organization or benefit, such as compulsory schooling, wage continuation plans, police or fire protection, you can campaign for changes.

I believe most of the parents who commented on this article would like the school board to reconsider their decision on the two-mile rule. It is a reasonable request. The school board is elected and they manage public funds.

The argument that simply because you don't directly benefit from a certain service it should not matter is not valid.

You work, you pay your Social Security and Medicare and you see the deductions on your paycheck. Your employer matches your Social Security and Medicare. Your employer additionally pays State Unemployment Tax (SUTA) and Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) at a smaller rate. Your employer DOES consider these taxes when considering your raise. Arguing that you have never used Social Security or Unemployment Compensation and the taxes should not be withheld is not valid. It is for the common good.

Parents or not, taxes are paid by all. Renters pay the property taxes through their rent.

Hopefully I am never disabled, homeless, or otherwise in need of many of the welfare/social service programs. I still contribute, through my paycheck and personal donations, because there are people who have a legitimate need for those programs and I would like those programs there should I ever need those.

My three children will graduate from Norwalk High School. At that point, this issue will have the same meaning. It is not about who gets the benefit. It is questioning why it is there or not there, what else is there (i.e. extra administrators, wasteful spending, etc), and what is being done. It is overall the question 'why'.

It is not about personal attacks.

I do know something very clear from past experience. I have seen people sentenced to life and death in court. I have seen people lose everything they have to fire, floods, storms, etc., I have seen many people lose their jobs, their marriages, and go through other trials.

However, the deepest reaction I have seen people exhibit is when their kids' safety, education, and well-being are compromised. I have seen people picket a school board for a misused hand puppet (Western Reserve). People from all walks of life, even those who we will not agree, will stand for their kids. The ones who don't are the exception.

I do not want to think our community would freely accept a kid (yes, high school students are still kids), an elderly person, a disabled person, or someone with a need, facing the elements or danger because an administrator somewhere did not properly manage the funds or duties we have given them as voters.

The parents are finding a solution at this time be it with rides or their kids are walking, hence this story. It is fully within their rights to question why the school district does not offer transportation and it within someone's right to question why it is offered at all. It is the board's responsibility to justify their decision in light of all the other considerations. They are placed their by our votes to manage the overall picture and are accountable for their decisions.

Take care.

gas guzzler (An...

thank you gas$. i believe that with your support , by not buying your gas in Norwalk , we are and we will make a difference . there is no reason , that i can see that the price of gas in Norwalk should be 20 to 30 cents higher per gallon , than , let's say Monroeville . I know that it is definately worth it to me , both on a financial standpoint, and as a way of showing the Norwalk gas station owners that we wont pay more for gas here than we pay in the surrounding area, to travel to Monroeville , and buy their moderately priced gas

swiss family......

thank you "Waa Waa Waa" you said it the way it really is . I think that people that live outside of the bussing limits should be more creative . they should explore all of the possibilities , that are out there . first they should get their kids bikes , if they can't afford new ones , there is a guy in town here , that always has used bikes for sale , plus what about ride shares? or having other kids meet them , and they can all walk together ? or why can't one of the parents walk with them ? I am so tired of hearing some people say that they are being picked on , by the schools, or the city , or the government , or whatever ! life is full of complicated situations , maybe you should be alittle more creative in thring to find a solution

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