School board mulls new Bus Loop plan

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LAPS: Officials try to beat the clock to enhance student safety

By Whitney Jones

The Los Alamos Public School Board of Directors considered a new bus loop proposal Thursday evening after several other proposals had been rejected throughout the last year – but the proposal, which will be voted on at the July school board meeting, may come too late as there’s little time to undertake the project before the start on the new school year Aug. 13.

Superintendent Gene Schmidt said it’s the third such attempt to reach a happy medium.

In May, the board rejected what was thought to be a final plan stating there were too many uncertainties with the proposal. The board also rejected a bus loop proposal last year.

“We asked them to bring us a rock, they brought us a rock, but it wasn’t the right rock,” Board President Kevin Honnell said.

The latest plan includes building an L-Shaped loop through the Duane Smith parking lot and separate areas from parking. But the board wants to make sure parents aren’t dropping their children off at the same time that the buses are.

“Parents are the safety problem,” bus loop committee member and former board member Jody Benson said.
Board member Melanie McKinley said the current system allows for students, cars and buses to all cross into each other’s paths.

The board is proposing parents drop off their children in the parking lot at Sullivan Field when busses are loading and unloading, which would require “re-training” parents.

Board members said they may have to deal with parental pushback, though.

At other times during the school day, parents would be able to get closer to the school to drop off their children.
None of the striping in the Sullivan parking lot would be adjusted and no designated path created.

Benson urged board members to act quickly on the matter because of the limited timeframe before the start of the new school year.

Schmidt said he’d like to see the project completed by the beginning of the school year, but that it can also be divided into two projects.

Benson agreed with Schmidt saying she’d like to see at least something done before the beginning of the school year if the entire project can’t be completed in time.

“This is the safest because the kids are already used to it,” Benson said. “It’s the most practical and cost effective, and we really – if it’s going to happen – for the board to have a special session and take a vote on it – like tomorrow.”

The Board will vote on the proposal at its July 12 meeting.