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  1. #1
    Cyburbian ICT/316's avatar
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    School Sprawl

    This is about the issue of “School Sprawl”. Suburban school districts use up a tremendous amount of farmland and open space.
    The 1st link below is to Google maps. It is the city of Maize, home to U.S.D. 266, just N.W. of Wichita. The 2nd link is a generic map of the district showing all the schools from the districts web page.
    You can see that the high school takes up an entire quarter square mile in the S.W. part of town. Also, the old high school is in the S.E. corner of the town, it’s now a Middle school. About 1 and half miles S.E. is a new middle school (Maize South M.S.) taking up another quarter square mile.
    There is more school owned property in Maize than any other property. I know other school districts cover larger areas, and Maize’s school district does cover a large part of N.W. Wichita proper. The city of maize has just fewer than 2,000 people, but the school district has over 5,000 students.
    Does any one else agree that the “School Sprawl” is an issue over looked in the debate over sprawl? What is it like in your area?

    Bill

    (Use Google Search for the links, if needed)

    1st Link: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=37.77...2058&t=k&hl=en

    2nd Link: http://68.88.167.208/education/sctem...s_map_6-05.pdf


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    Last edited by ICT/316; 17 Jun 2005 at 1:01 AM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    30 minute commute to school

    Great thread. This is an oft-overlooked problem of sprawl.

    I orignially posted this in the "traffic jams spread to small cities thread", but I think it most definitely belongs here:

    It took me 30 minutes to drive to school every day last year. My house is about 5 miles from the school. The traffic to get to the school (2 miles west of town, in the middle of nowhere), backed up half a mile on one road, then two t-intersections, and then half a mile on the other road, and then into the school. I avoided half the backup by using side streets in downtown Huntley and then cutting through an age-restricted golf course community, and then into half the backup. The school was a middle-high school. About 1,300 H.S. students, 1,500 M.S. students and about 100-200 faculty/staff. 2,000 people all driving to school, because it is way out in the sticks. We had 50 buses, no kidding. And a ton of parents who drove their kids, and nearly every junior and senior driving (400). Plus, the general people going to work in the morning, and all the dump trucks and service trucks going to the exurban construction sites. Avoid the exurbs between 6 and 7:30 AM, and anytime after 2 PM.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  3. #3
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ICT/316
    This is about the issue of “School Sprawl”. Suburban school districts use up a tremendous amount of farmland and open space.
    The 1st link below is to Google maps. It is the city of Maize, home to U.S.D. 266, just N.W. of Wichita. The 2nd link is a generic map of the district showing all the schools from the districts web page.
    You can see that the high school takes up an entire quarter square mile in the S.W. part of town. Also, the old high school is in the S.E. corner of the town, it’s now a Middle school. About 1 and half miles S.E. is a new middle school (Maize South M.S.) taking up another quarter square mile.
    There is more school owned property in Maize than any other property. I know other school districts cover larger areas, and Maize’s school district does cover a large part of N.W. Wichita proper. The city of maize has just fewer than 2,000 people, but the school district has over 5,000 students.
    Does any one else agree that the “School Sprawl” is an issue over looked in the debate over sprawl? What is it like in your area?

    Bill

    (Use Google Search for the links, if needed)

    1st Link: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=37.77...2058&t=k&hl=en

    2nd Link: http://68.88.167.208/education/sctem...s_map_6-05.pdf


    ________________________

    “Ladies and gentlemen, can I please have your attention. I've just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story. I need all of you, to stop what you're doing and listen. Cannonball!”


    - Ron Burgundy
    That is some crazy stuff in Wichita!! Would you like some town with your school?? Or an order of baseball fields with some school on the side.

    In my school district (Huntley Consolidated School District 158), there is a student population around 6,000+. The district covers all of Huntley and western portions of Algonquin and Lake in the Hills. The School Board apparently thought it was a good idea to do campuses instead of neighborhood schools. So, thus we have three 1/4 mile campuses spread throughout the district. Each campus has 2 elementary schools and 1 middle or high school.

    To give you a broad overview of the school district and the campuses (depicted by gray schoolhouses), you can check the district boundary map: http://www.d158.k12.il.us/2005Boundaries.pdf

    ^^My neighborhood is either 26, 27, 28, 30, or 31. But I won't tell you which one. My high school is the schoolhouse way on the western portion.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    That is some crazy stuff in Wichita!! Would you like some town with your school?? Or an order of baseball fields with some school on the side.

    In my school district (Huntley Consolidated School District 158), there is a student population around 6,000+. The district covers all of Huntley and western portions of Algonquin and Lake in the Hills. The School Board apparently thought it was a good idea to do campuses instead of neighborhood schools. So, thus we have three 1/4 mile campuses spread throughout the district. Each campus has 2 elementary schools and 1 middle or high school.

    To give you a broad overview of the school district and the campuses (depicted by gray schoolhouses), you can check the district boundary map: http://www.d158.k12.il.us/2005Boundaries.pdf

    ^^My neighborhood is either 26, 27, 28, 30, or 31. But I won't tell you which one. My high school is the schoolhouse way on the western portion.
    I suspect that the district figured that since so few, if ANY, of the students walk or ride their bicycles to school in those suburban areas (the distances are so great and the streets are seldom conducive to doing it safely and besides, it's uncool to do it in anything but the flashiest new soove) that it would be more cost-effective to just centralize everything. When you think it through, there really is no logical need for such a thing as a neighborhood school in Beigeville.

    Mike

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    It took me 30 minutes to drive to school every day last year.
    The first year we homeschooled, we did so through a charter school...more than 70 miles away. I spent about 5 hours or so, one day per week, going out there, doing my meetings, shopping the book store, coming back, etc. It was LESS time consuming than taking my kids to school and picking them up every day, by far. I don't miss the school commute. I really don't. Between homework and the school commute and PTA meetings, etc. it does NOT take more time and effort for me to be a school administrator, special ed. teacher, gifted program coordinator, regular teacher (etc) all rolled into one than it did to have my kids in public school.

    God, don't get me started. I will start sounding like The Lunatic Fringe element that wants to completely demolish the public school system.

    Er, that is like agreeing with your point. Honest.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920
    I suspect that the district figured that since so few, if ANY, of the students walk or ride their bicycles to school in those suburban areas (the distances are so great and the streets are seldom conducive to doing it safely and besides, it's uncool to do it in anything but the flashiest new soove) that it would be more cost-effective to just centralize everything. When you think it through, there really is no logical need for such a thing as a neighborhood school in Beigeville.

    Mike
    Yes, you're probably right. But if I had the option of walking/riding my bike to school, I would (when I was in elementary/middle school here). But my neighborhood was brand new at the time, and we went to the old school in the old town which isn't even used anymore.

    In a lot of 50s-70s era housing (even in nearby Crystal Lake), they have neighborhood schools and a lot of kids walk/bike. I remember at my old school in Wheeling, IL, we lived in a 50s era house, and I walked/rode my bike to school often, even though it was a 2/3 mile away and involved crossing a state highway.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  7. #7
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    The first year we homeschooled, we did so through a charter school...more than 70 miles away. I spent about 5 hours or so, one day per week, going out there, doing my meetings, shopping the book store, coming back, etc. It was LESS time consuming than taking my kids to school and picking them up every day, by far. I don't miss the school commute. I really don't. Between homework and the school commute and PTA meetings, etc. it does NOT take more time and effort for me to be a school administrator, special ed. teacher, gifted program coordinator, regular teacher (etc) all rolled into one than it did to have my kids in public school.

    God, don't get me started. I will start sounding like The Lunatic Fringe element that wants to completely demolish the public school system.

    Er, that is like agreeing with your point. Honest.
    Wow...I can't believe that. The sacrifices people make for the kids' education.

    I'm never having kids...at least not until I find a safe, walkable community. I wouldn't want to do homeschooling or drive them to school...especially since most of them are underfunded.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ICT/316's avatar
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    Illinoisplanner,
    I seen your post the other day about driving to school, with the traffic and all.Certainly this contributes to the problem. More busing? I don’t know. Driver’s Ed almost contributes to the problem. You are teaching these young kids to drive and at the same time during those younger years their trying to discover their “selves” or “individuality” and they think, “ Hey, I’m independent, I can drive.” They have no other concept, like mass transit, carpooling, and school busing even. AND they really don’t have a choice.

    In the Maize (KS) school district, 99% or what ever live in Wichita, not Maize. Even though the city limits of Maize and Wichita touch. There is still about 2 or more miles gap between the two cities/towns, it’s sparse rural/ suburban housing. Not to ideal to “walk” to school.
    The number of students going to a school or a whole school district probably won’t be solved soon. But, maybe the land they use up can. Why not set an example and build the schools in a multi-story setting? Why use up so much space? I’m even pro growth! Business and corporations provide jobs, income and taxes, so I don’t have a problem with large suburban work campus (with in reason).

    Bill

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  9. #9
    Cyburbian ICT/316's avatar
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    Here’s one thing for you. On the main rural/ suburban road from Wichita to Maize , Maize Road (filling up FAST with homes) it’s 55 MPH and there is a huge jogging/ bike path beside the road. I suspect the speed limit will be 40 MPH soon, which is typical of all Metro Wichita suburban main roads. NO KID’S use this to go to school.

    Bill

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    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ICT/316
    Illinoisplanner,
    I seen your post the other day about driving to school, with the traffic and all.Certainly this contributes to the problem. More busing? I don’t know. Driver’s Ed almost contributes to the problem. You are teaching these young kids to drive and at the same time during those younger years their trying to discover their “selves” or “individuality” and they think, “ Hey, I’m independent, I can drive.” They have no other concept, like mass transit, carpooling, and school busing even. AND they really don’t have a choice.

    In the Maize (KS) school district, 99% or what ever live in Wichita, not Maize. Even though the city limits of Maize and Wichita touch. There is still about 2 or more miles gap between the two cities/towns, it’s sparse rural/ suburban housing. Not to ideal to “walk” to school.
    The number of students going to a school or a whole school district probably won’t be solved soon. But, maybe the land they use up can. Why not set an example and build the schools in a multi-story setting? Why use up so much space? I’m even pro growth! Business and corporations provide jobs, income and taxes, so I don’t have a problem with large suburban work campus (with in reason).

    Bill

    __________________


    “Ohh, it's the deep burn! Oh, it's so deep! Oh, I can barely lift my right arm 'cause I did so many. I don't know if you heard me counting. I did over a thousand.”

    - Ron Burgundy
    My school district just started to figure out the multi-story concept, yet the buildings are still spread out and not pedestrian friendly (in the campus, you wouldn't even want to walk from one school to another). Nearby District 300 has done a better job with density.

    I don't know what the solution is. We already have like 60 buses, yet they are half-empty since every parent spoils their child by driving them to school, even through the middle school years.

    Ban parent driving??
    Ban student driving??
    Ban campus format??
    Ban sprawl??
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    Wow...I can't believe that. The sacrifices people make for the kids' education.

    I'm never having kids...at least not until I find a safe, walkable community. I wouldn't want to do homeschooling or drive them to school...especially since most of them are underfunded.
    ROFLOL. My plan was to have my first child at age 29. He showed up the day after I turned 22. Oops.

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    One apsect of this conversation: school districts are often exempt from local land use regulations. This exacerbates the problem as the school district seeks what seems to them to be the cheapest possible land - which is almost always land on the edge. Short-sighted decision-making by school districts is a major factor in sprawl in many places I have worked.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    One apsect of this conversation: school districts are often exempt from local land use regulations. This exacerbates the problem as the school district seeks what seems to them to be the cheapest possible land - which is almost always land on the edge. Short-sighted decision-making by school districts is a major factor in sprawl in many places I have worked.
    Thanks for making mention of that. We can tell them our policies, they don't have to follow them. Intergovernmental "No touch" agreements fail comprehensive planning. I was once told by a school board administrator that they don't build up because building up would cause ADA accessibility costs to make the project infeasable.

    Has anyone noticed how much office space they build in these schools now? My old hometown school is doing a teardown, expansion, renovation on the same city/small town urban lots. 50% of the addition is replacing what they already have: a gymnasium and cafeteria of the same size of the existing. another 25% is new office space. The final 25% is replacing removed classrooms with "new state-of-the-art" classrooms. What will be different? Well, ethernet cables will be built into the walls instead of hanging from a vent duct. What a way to spend 28 million dollars.....
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

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    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Why Johnny Can't Walk to School

    http://www.nationaltrust.org/issues/schoolsSum.pdf

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    Suspended Bad Email Address teshadoh's avatar
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    Rock Hill, SC is a great example - in segregation era, the town of roughly 20,000 had two high schools near downtown, Rock Hill high & Emmett Scott high for blacks. In the early 1970's, two high schools were built in opposite sides of town - Rock Hill high mantained it's identity - but was moved southeast 3 to 5 miles, which was outside the city limits. Northwestern was built northwest of town again about 3 to 5 miles - both built to modern school standards, allowing over 1000 students per school.

    Resulting was that lower income Blacks required to take the bus before 7 am to get to school while middle income Whites were afforded a location close to home. Blacks were diluted in both schools, resulting in minimal participation in extracurricular activities.

    Now - Rock Hill is a large suburb of Charlotte with over 50,000 residents & a new high school is being built - where?

    3 to 5 miles southwest of town.

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    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Here is a paper I wrote on the subject last fall (04) and will be presenting at the Associated Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) conference in October 2005.

    EDIT: Well, I cant attach the full doc. due to size, but here is the abstract and reference list (if you want to purues reading on this subject). If you want my paper, pm me and I will email it to you.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Some colleges ban student parking on campus for freshman or sophomore status. They will have lot well away from campus and bus the students in. Why can’t they ban student parking at these high schools? I also think that one way loading/ unloading zones limiting left turns particular times of the day, using 4 way stop signs, using roundabouts, and staggering start/end times to diffuse traffic.

    Also design usability standers should be implemented allowing for several entrances / exits to diffuse traffic to several different locations on the building, while building taller structures with underground parking lots for employees.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  18. #18

    Question

    [QUOTE=ICT/316]This is about the issue of “School Sprawl”. Suburban school districts use up a tremendous amount of farmland and open space.
    The 1st link below is to Google maps. It is the city of Maize, home to U.S.D. 266, just N.W. of Wichita. The 2nd link is a generic map of the district showing all the schools from the districts web page.
    You can see that the high school takes up an entire quarter square mile in the S.W. part of town. Also, the old high school is in the S.E. corner of the town, it’s now a Middle school. About 1 and half miles S.E. is a new middle school (Maize South M.S.) taking up another quarter square mile.
    There is more school owned property in Maize than any other property. I know other school districts cover larger areas, and Maize’s school district does cover a large part of N.W. Wichita proper. The city of maize has just fewer than 2,000 people, but the school district has over 5,000 students.
    Does any one else agree that the “School Sprawl” is an issue over looked in the debate over sprawl? What is it like in your area?

    Bill



    How new is this town Maize? Did it used to be a rural area? Just curious, because I went to a rural school with 750 students K-12 in one building, but our school grounds (Camden-Frontier, MI) probably took over 2 square miles. Keep in mind that we had an active FFA program and had farm fields in which classes would learn to bail straw/hay. And we had about a half square mile of wooded area with nature trails, and the Ag classes learned how to run chain saws. So needless to say, a 1/4 sq mile school grounds does not impress me. The area around the school is now building up, I don't know if it is to the extent of subdivisions, however, I heard recently the adjacent gravel road was paved. ---That was the best road for running in Cross country practice...
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

  19. #19
    Cyburbian ijustkrushalot's avatar
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    especially in Illinois, where schools are taking it in the hind-quarters each time the General Assembly writes up a new budget, schools are being forced to consolidate.

    The largest district in the state, i believe, is Olympia school district, just south west of Bloomington/Normal, Illinois. The district is probably 400 sq miles (or bigger) and turned about 7 communities (pop 300-1,500ish) into ONE school district, with about 6-700 high schoolers and an equal sized JHS all sharing one campus 5 miles outside of the nearest town. This district has been in operation for at least 20-30 years.

    My school district recently consolidated with the nearby district to form a school with 400 HS students, and the district is about 15 x 10-12 miles in size.

    Another common practice is schools consolidating within a district. Fieldcrest, just north of where i live, has been threatening for the last couple years to disolve the two JHS's that feed the HS into 1 junior high, increasing transportation costs, but saving on duplicate administrative functions.

    In Bloomington/Normal, the major school districts are closing old neighborhood schools in favor of new schools (i swear, they only hired an architect to build one school, and then Xeroxed the plans for the rest). the new high school on the east side of normal is carbon copy of Normal West high school, and was built 3 miles into the countryside to anticipate further growth (HUGE parking lot, and a large athletic field complex)

    the Catholic school in Bloomington recently did the same thing (although they kept the name "Central" Catholic, for some odd reason)... as they built a campus on the east side of bloomington near the airport. Bloomington spent a ton of money to build a rather nice community park, complete with gardens, fountains, and the sort.. and i really doubt anyone outside of the subdivision nearby will ever know it is there.. seems like a waste.

    Of course nobody will build an elementary school anymore with more than 1 level... and the schools seem to have sprawling campuses. In some cases, nice community parks are created from the campuses, but often the parks serve no real useful purpose outside of athletic fields, and they don't bring people to them, as it is just an open field next to a new subdivision.

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    Cyburbian ICT/316's avatar
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    Jmello, The information you provided pretty much covers it all. Just from a taxpayer’s view, I can’t believe the exaggerated costs given for school renovation. That has to border on some sort of criminal activity , like giving false information. It would depend on state law, so it would be different for each state.
    Now another question is, can anyone give a solid answer for why schools should be built at the fringe of cities, be so large and why older school should not be renovated? I would like to hear both sides.

    Bill

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    Last edited by ICT/316; 17 Jun 2005 at 8:01 PM.

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    Cyburbian ICT/316's avatar
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    Bill



    Ssnyderjr [/QUOTE]How new is this town Maize? Did it used to be a rural area? Just curious, because I went to a rural school with 750 students K-12 in one building, but our school grounds (Camden-Frontier, MI) probably took over 2 square miles. Keep in mind that we had an active FFA program and had farm fields in which classes would learn to bail straw/hay. And we had about a half square mile of wooded area with nature trails, and the Ag classes learned how to run chain saws. So needless to say, a 1/4 sq mile school grounds does not impress me. The area around the school is now building up, I don't know if it is to the extent of subdivisions, however, I heard recently the adjacent gravel road was paved. ---That was the best road for running in Cross country practice... [/QUOTE]



    Ssnyderjr, well I guess your school is an exception, because I think it’s safe to say there are very few high school campuses’ that cover 2 sq. miles. Sorry, the ¼ Sq. Mile School did not “impress” you. It must be hard to believe, but some school’s are only one city block in size!
    As far as Maize, it’s been there forever (late 1880’s). It’s had 1,800 people for the last 20 years. The city of Wichita grew into Maize’s school district boundaries. It may have 2,000 people now.

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    Last edited by ICT/316; 17 Jun 2005 at 8:02 PM.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ICT/316
    Jmello, The information you provided pretty much covers it all. Just from a taxpayer’s view, I can’t believe the exaggerated costs given for school renovation. That has to border on some sort of criminal activity , like giving false information. It would depend on state law, so it would be different for each state.
    Now another question is, can anyone give a solid answer for way schools should be built at the fringe of cities, be so large and why older school should not be renovated? I would like to hear both sides.

    Bill
    I think that a *BIG* reason why many older school buildings are not re-enovated/expanded is that they are essentially obsolete and too expensive to bring up to modern standards compared with entirely new buildings on clean lots. These may include the heating, electrical, communications and plumbing systems, the buildings' structures and (especially, IMHO) ADA compliance.

    With a clean new lot, there is also much pressure to include such amenities as athletic fields, etc.

    Mike

  23. #23
    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Some colleges ban student parking on campus for freshman or sophomore status. They will have lot well away from campus and bus the students in. Why can’t they ban student parking at these high schools?
    Banning student parking is not a good idea, IMO. I remember just 3 years ago being a senior in high school and having the first three periods off. Rather than catch the bus at 6:45AM I gladly drove the 25 minutes to school like pretty much every other junior and senior did. Also, a lot of friends had periods off in the middle of the school day. They needed their car to drive and get lunch, go to the beach, etc. Parking lots at the HS are still cramped but if it were to be banned, there is no other viable alternative since walking is out of the option and I doubt the village would like an extra 150 cars parked along Main Street. It is probably a similar situation at other high schools. How many of you all actually took the bus or walked to school as a senior in high school?? I doubt most did.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The Fringe
    Banning student parking is not a good idea, IMO. I remember just 3 years ago being a senior in high school and having the first three periods off. Rather than catch the bus at 6:45AM I gladly drove the 25 minutes to school like pretty much every other junior and senior did. Also, a lot of friends had periods off in the middle of the school day.
    Limiting student parking is a GOOD idea. In my school, only seniors were allowed to drive to school and we were NOT allowed to leave campus at all during the school day.

    P.S. I took the school bus all throughout HS. If I missed the school bus, my mom would throw me $0.85 and I would jump on the city bus, which came 10 minutes after the yellow bus and dropped me one block from my HS.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    A more comprehensive solution to banning HS student parking is doing what some states already have and raise the driving age to 18. Sure, there are a few 18 year olds in HS, but this would eliminate most all Soph./Jr. parking and some Sr. as well.

    I am pro driving age increase for this and many reasons.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

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More at Cyburbia

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