Community

IT WAS A MISTAKE: SCHOOL DISTRICT RESPONDS TO CONCERNED PARENTS

Broadlands parents upset over what they consider a bizarre and confusing school walk zone.

Tuesday, a group of concerned parents met with Kevin Lewis, assistant superintendent with the Loudoun County Public Schools. They gathered at Eagle Ridge Middle School to discuss the newly expanded school walk zone that will impact dozens of homes in the Broadlands. The quick take-away: Errors were made in the design of the walk zone, but they don’t violate district policy so the walk zone stands.

The oddly shaped walk zone — long and narrow — will have some children walking more than a mile to school while other students who live much closer to the school will get a bus. At the northern end of the walk zone, children will have to walk past other children waiting for the bus — a bus they are not allowed to board.

The demarcation line for LCPS seems to be the Broadlands nature path, a path that is often not shoveled for days after snowstorms. Students on the east side have to walk, while students on the west side are provided a bus. Children who have a 30-minute walk to school can look out their back windows at homes a hundred feet away whose children get to ride a bus.

Multiple parents who attended the meeting and walked the path with Lewis shared these concerns with him. According to them, Lewis’ response: the design of the walk zone was a mistake, that other homes should have been included, but there’s nothing they can do about it. Apparently, the deadline for notifying parents of walk zone changes has passed.

When parents pointed out that the nature path is often not shoveled, which would force kids to walk down Claiborne Parkway or Chickacoan Trail (routes that exceed the district’s 1.25 mile maximum for some children), Lewis reportedly said that was an HOA issue.

Parents who attended Tuesday’s meeting say, in light of the mistake made this year, they would like LCPS to revert back to last year’s walk zone. The expanded walk zone can then be reevaluated for the following school year. The deadline for filing appeals (link here) is coming up at the end of June.

8 Comments
  1. G 4 years ago
    Reply

    Oops, our mistake but not our problem. Sorry HOA. This whole thing is out of control. Hey LCPS, how’s about some accountability and action? Oh, and maybe some formal communication to the community?

  2. Karen Cook 4 years ago
    Reply

    Sorry excuses! Who is responsible for this poorly thought out walking map?? No accountability and parents not kept in the loop during planning phase. Of course, expecting children to walk up to a mile isn’t a terrible thing during good weather but what about rain, snow, cold etc that often occurs during school year? And with loaded backpacks since rollers are permitted at school? Many working parents have no alternatives either. So sad LCPS just turns their back and says not their problem!

  3. B 4 years ago
    Reply

    Lewis’ reasoning here is nonsense: “Yes, we made a mistake with the walk zone but we are powerless to change it now.” Because of an arbitrary notification deadline? A deadline that LCPS presumably sets and controls? If they changed an erroneously drawn zone after their own deadline what could possibly be the negative consequences? This is one the lamest excuses for inaction that I’ve ever heard, and I work for the Federal government so I’ve heard most of them. LCPS is choosing process over common sense and they need to be held accountable.

  4. T 4 years ago
    Reply

    First you complain about your kids having to walk and now you complain that they won’t fix their error when it still means your kids will have to walk. It will just mean other people’s kids will now have to walk too.

    Buy a good winter coat, snow boots and an umbrella. Your precious snowflakes will be fine walking to school.

  5. Concerned 4 years ago
    Reply

    To the above comment. You are missing the point. The walk zone should have been made as a radius near school, not a straight long line where east of the path walks and west gets a bus. Both east and west are same distance to path. It really makes no sense, especially when people less than a half mile to the school with access to same path are getting a bus. Yes, walking is healthy but walking with a tuba, loaded backpack for 1.4 miles in stormy weather for a 85 lb kid is not. I’ll assume you did not know all the info for your above comment.

  6. T 4 years ago
    Reply

    I knew the info. Again correcting the mistake as you described would involve adding to those that would need to walk and not rolling back the changes.

    I just looked up how far I had to walk to middle school years ago. It was 1.3 miles. Many kids walked farther. We did it carrying instruments and backpacks. A 2nd thought wasn’t given to whether that was a reasonable distance.

    • Concerned 4 years ago
      Reply

      I too walked quite a distance back in the day when there wasn’t the same worry for safety as there is today in my opinion anyway. Having said that, I was at the meeting and walk. We were proposing that they correct the mistake by providing a bus to both sides of trail and reevaluate the boundaries for walk zones next school year. It’s none of my business and I could care less but I still feel like you are either on the west side of trail or have younger or older kids that this doesn’t touch. They are the only individuals who have shown an indifference. We all have athletic and active families on our street but there is still a concern with the distance and path being a safe route. In addition, Any parent that this does affect has a right to be concerned since the kids will most likely have to take other streets causing a much further and less safe walk. That is unless we have a snowless winter like last year. Two years ago parts of the path were not passable for many weeks at a time. In addition we all had a right to understand why our kids were going to be passing multiple bus stops on their way to school. Now we know.

  7. iadtosydPaul 4 years ago
    Reply

    The HOA has already stated the path is NOT a HOA issue and will not be maintained in the winter. Sounds like a lawsuit in the making….

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