This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
For Dawn Rase-Perkins, a parent of a sophomore at Robeson High School, transportation worries over the District’s school-closings plan are not simple to resolve.
“We live in South Philadelphia, so my son takes the bus every day to University City and just walks a couple of blocks to Robeson,” said Rase-Perkins. But now Robeson is expected to merge with Sayre, moving it from 42nd to 58th Street.
“I do not want him to be relocated further west. The area is not safe, and it is not what he has grown up with,” said Rase-Perkins.
Rase-Perkins is not alone when it comes to concerns about how the school-closings plan will affect transportation and student safety. Parents of special needs students worry about how longer bus rides may impact their children’s well-being. Students unfamiliar with certain areas feel stressed out over having to cross neighborhood lines.
Superintendent William Hite has promised to work with the police department, city agencies, and community groups to ensure safe passage for all students. But the District has said that recommendations for transportation solutions will not be established until after the final list of closures is created. The School Reform Commission will vote on the recommendations March 7.
District policy specifies that the following students are eligible for transportation:
- 1st-6th graders who live more than 1.5 miles from school
- 1st-8th graders whose route to school is deemed hazardous.
- Students reassigned out of their neighborhood due to overcrowding
- Special education students and other students with extraordinary extenuating circumstances who are determined to require transportation to get to school.
- 7th-12th graders who live more than 1.5 miles from school are eligible for TransPasses.