Some IPS parents concerned about proposed district transportation change that would cut various bus routes

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Public Schools will vote Tuesday night on new proposed transportation shifts for the 2021-22 school year, which will ultimately cut some bus routes. This would mean more students would walk or ride IndyGo buses.

Some parents say their biggest concern is students left with the only option to walk to school.

The district will enforce the walk zone policy at all IPS schools. This means transportation will only be provided to all elementary students who live more than a mile from their school, all middle school students who live more then 1.25 miles from their school and all high school students who live more 1.5 miles from their school.

Between 5,500 and 7,000 students are expected to walk to school starting in August. The district says crossing guards will be in place to help students get to their destination safely. Executing the walk zone policy at all schools does not require board approval because it is an existing policy.

The district also plans to move some high school students to IndyGo as their sole means of transportation. School officials say this new approach maximizes funding without negatively impacting teaching and learning in classrooms.

But not all parents agree.

“Things happen on the way to school,” parent Dominique Jackson said. “I don’t care if you’re 0.5 miles, you know what I mean, things happen. Me personally, I love for my kids to ride the bus because they feel secure instead of walking. I don’t have to worry about if they’re getting snatched on their way to school or being concerned if they make it to school because they’re walking.”

The district has hosted three virtual town halls over the past few weeks to share information to parents. They’ve also answered questions through online feedback forms. The district says they’re making these changes for a variety of reasons, including significantly high transportation costs per pupil, as well as several factors related to COVID-19 and a $15 million district shortfall

The meeting is at 6 p.m. at IPS headquarters at 120 E. Walnut St. The district will take in-person public comment, but capacity is limited to 50 people. Social distancing and face masks are required.