Staying safe on the way to school is the goal of a new bill in the Illinois Senate. School districts would have to waive the 1½-mile radius outside which students would qualify for bus transportation if they would otherwise have to walk through dangerous, high-crime neighborhoods. How do you pay for it?
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“The schools that have approached me feel it is worthwhile,” says sponsoring State Sen. James Clayborne (D-Belleville). “I guess any time you don’t provide money with a bill, then it can be considered an unfunded mandate, but … the school districts that have talked with me are willing to bear the cost.”
For their students to get this transportation, parents and guardians must petition their school board. The board must then study and report on the safety of the area, and those findings must be verified by the Illinois State Police.
Clayborne says such a “safe passage” problem exists in Chicago and the suburbs, and in his district in the Metro East area.