"It was horrible," Karen Austin, a Tomball ISD mother, told ABC13 about Richard Kaye Road. "It was like going off a cliff."
A stretch of badly damaged dirt road stood between Austin's home and the highway. Tomball ISD decided school buses couldn't safely navigate it any longer, and district officials sent Austin a letter explaining the bus would no longer come down that street.
Without a fix, it meant a nearly mile-long walk in the dark to Highway 249 along a road with no streetlights.
Austin turned to ABC 13 Investigates' Ted Oberg, and ABC13 turned to Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley.
"We've got to be able to get kids to and from school," Riley said after sending a county road crew to check it out.
Riley adopted a small stretch of the dirt road, put down asphalt and smoothed it out for the first time ever to ensure that buses and ambulances can get down the road.
"I've had quite a few thumbs up," Riley said after the repair.
Looking at the road, Austin told ABC13, "It looks a lot better. We're all thankful for what you did."
But we're not stopping there.
Even if the road is smooth and your stop is close, there are things you need to do now to make sure you and your children are first-day, school bus-ready.
Houston, Cy-Fair and Spring ISDs all contributed suggestions they hope every family will review before the first day of school.
We boiled it down to the top 3 among them.
- Make sure you and your kids know where the bus picks them up and drops them off. Pin their bus route and drop off to their backpack.
- Make sure the school has your correct address and contact info. Without that, they may assign your child to an incorrect stop.
Here are some links for selected districts (for others, search by district name and 'transportation'):
- Arrive at your stop 5-10 minutes early. Any more can make first day jitters a little more jittery.
Among the other suggestions:
- Prioritize bus safety. Face forward, stay seated, wear seatbelts (if available) and tell children to report problems to the driver
- Parents should accompany elementary age students to the bus stop if possible.
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