What if a school district evades its own rules?

Sep 9, 2013 by

Jay Mathews –

Any parent who has fought a local school or school system, or thought about doing so, can learn from Bill Horkan and his battle with the transportation department of the Loudoun County Public Schools.

In June, schools notified the parents of 3,500 children that they were not eligible for bus service. They did not qualify under LCPS manual section 6-21: “Transportation shall be provided for all elementary students living more than eight-tenths (0.8) of a mile walking distance from their assigned elementary schools.”

Horkan, a Fairfax County high school math teacher with a love of precision, researched the matter and concluded that the rule does apply to many of those children, but not to his fifth-grade daughter and several other Algonkian Elementary School children in his Sterling neighborhood. It appeared the shortest route his child could walk from his house to the school was 0.93 miles, with six street crossings.

He was slightly off. The measurement had to be from the closest point on the parent’s property to the closest point on the school’s property, and not where the student would be dropped off. That distance was still more than eight-tenths of a mile. A transportation department official he called said the district’s data put it at exactly 0.8221 miles.

But his daughter was still excluded from bus service.

“It is only a little more than 0.8 miles,” the official said. Such statements demand a simple, non-threatening response. Horkan noted that section 6-21 “did not state that transportation services would be provided only to those students ‘a little more’ than 0.8 miles.” He said she told him that the school board had changed the policy so that if a student lived on a cul-de-sac or dead-end road, as Horkan does, the distance would be measured only to the bus stop.

via What if a school district evades its own rules? – The Washington Post.

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