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School bus stop is dangerous, Saxonburg parents say

| Thursday, May 5, 2011

A group of parents who live in the Plantation at Saxonburg want the school bus to pick up their children in the housing development, rather than on the main road.

Parents contend that having children wait for the bus on Freeport Street is dangerous.

But the road within the housing development is not public, and that causes a legal problem.

There are 25 students in kindergarten through fifth grades in the neighborhood, according to Barbara Ansell, one of about 15 parents who attended the school board's meeting Wednesday night. Add in siblings, she said, and that's 39 kids waiting along the road. Freeport Street, which turns into Rebecca Street in Saxonburg, connects Saxonburg to Route 228.

"This is a major safety concern," she said.

She wants the bus to drive into the housing plan and pick children up at the plan's clubhouse. There would be no need for the bus to drive in reverse in the housing plan, she said, because of a cul-de-sac.

Ansell said the parents have already met with Clinton Township officials about the road, but the township doesn't own it because it's private.

The plan needs to be 85 percent built out before Clinton Township will consider taking ownership, Ansell said. That, she said, could take up to two years.

Parents want the school district to strike an agreement with the plan's builder, S & A Homes, allowing the bus to use the road and absolving the school district of responsibility for any road damage.

School Superintendent Dale Lumley said the board will refer the issue back to its solicitor, who will contact the builder.

The development is an upscale housing plan on former farmland. It's mostly in Clinton Township and reaches slightly into Saxonburg and Jefferson Township.

In 2006, there were just three children boarding the bus there, according to Ansell.

Some things, she said, have helped to make the main road safer -- a lower speed limit and addition of a no passing zone.

Tax increase likely

School directors will vote Wednesday on a $32.6 million 2011-2012 preliminary budget with a property tax increase of 1.8 percent.

That tax hike would add $32 onto the tax bill of a home with an assessed value of $20,000.

The district faces state cuts of about $1.3 million.

The tax increase of 1.6 mills would bring in about $256,000 to the district.

The district also will bring on to its tax rolls $650,000 from Victory Road Business Park, which had been tax exempt, Business Manager Debbie Brandstetter said.

Positions of two retiring teachers and one resigning teacher will not be filled. The district also made cuts in its supply budget.

A deficit of about $855,000 -- which includes $300,000 marked as budgetary reserve funds -- will be covered by the district's fund balance.

Additional Information:

Coming up

Who: South Butler County School Board

What: Vote on 2011-12 preliminary budget

When: 7 p.m., Wednesday

Where: Knoch Middle School library, 754 Dinnerbell Road

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