On Burnham Road, Avon Middle School student Lilli Satlof crosses traffic to walk against the busy flow of cars to her bus stop in the morning.
These are just two concerns raised by Avon parents about new Dattco bus stops this year.
John Spang, assistant superintendent for finance and operations, said at a school board meeting on Sept. 17 that the district has received at least 100 requests for school bus stop changes.
Spang also said that in the afternoons "some of the buses are still leaving the elementary schools later than we'd like" and aren't getting there on time.
Alexander's mother, Maureen Conlin Chrysoulakis said that she and her husband have safety concerns about her son's stop on a steep road without sidewalks.
"All I want is for my kid to get dropped off at the top of the hill," said Chrysoulakis, who said she's not asking for her son's bus to drop him off right at their house. "I just want a bus stop within a reasonable distance of my house."
Heather Satlof, Lilli's mother, is also concerned about her daughter walking down the street to the bus because many drivers speed and use Burnham Road as a cut through. The road doesn't have sidewalks.
In the winter, both Bridgewater and Burnham get narrower because of snow banks, Chrysoulakis and Satlof said.
Both Chrysoulakis and Satlof have spoken to school and DATTCO officials about their concerns, but said that the district declined their requests for new stops and deemed their current stops safe.
District officials and DATTCO safety experts visited more than 50 homes on Sept. 5 and 6 to review the stops parents wanted at those houses. Of those, the team only agreed with three or four of the parents' arguments that those spots were safer than the current bus stops. The stops were awarded to those parents.
Spang said that two or three more requested stops required further study due to the time of day they visited and other factors. Upon further investigation, Spang said that team gave the requested stop to one of those parents.
"And the rest of them, we didn't agree that it was a safety matter," Spang said. "What we've said to them is that if we can get the afternoon running on time, and it doesn't mean any effort going by their house anyway and would still be on time, we'd consider giving them the stop. But until we have everyone on time, we don't want to add a stop and make it even later when we're trying so hard to improve that. Some have accepted that, some have not. "
The bus stop visits happened during Rosh Hashanah. Chrysoulakis and Satlof said that the visits to their streets on a holiday did not reflect peak traffic hours or the same traffic flow as when their kids are walking to and from the stops in the morning and afternoon.
Both mothers continue to follow up about their complaints and have found responses from the district and DATTCO to be delayed after numerous attempts to contact someone. They said they are still waiting for a resolution to their concerns.
“We’re going to the board next and if we don’t get any help, we’re going to the state," Chrysoulakis said of her complaint.
Spang said at the school board meeting that the district has started a help desk for parents with concerns about bus stops. Superintendent Gary Mala addressed concerns about the DATTCO buses in a letter to parents on Sept. 2.
The district continues to discuss any further concerns from parents, Spang said.
Patch could not reach Spang immediately for further comment Friday.
What do you think about your child's bus stop? Have you requested a new stop? What response have you gotten to your concerns? Tell us in the comments or post a Letter to the Editor on our blogging platform or community boards Speak Out section.