Why we need neighborhood schools
I am one of thousands of Charleston County School District parents who received an email notice on Jan. 23 warning us to make plans and prepare in the likely event of a bus strike.
I consider myself lucky — my children have been able to walk or bicycle to their neighborhood schools for all of their elementary and middle school years.
A bus strike will not affect my child; however, I, too, am making alternate plans and preparations.
I am working with nonprofit advocacy groups like Charleston Moves to prepare the way for more of the 22,000 CCSD school children who currently ride the bus to be able to walk or bike safely to school.
Charleston Moves is fighting to create more connected communities, with bike lanes and sidewalks, so kids can be safe and physically active riding or walking to school.
More students on bikes or on foot would save the school district money, save fuel costs, reduce diesel emissions, reduce health care costs for our increasingly obese children, and improve test scores, as studies show a positive correlation between physical activity and academic performance.
The issue is much broader than bus driver pay. We need to begin investing in smaller community-based neighborhood schools, and radically improved bike/pedestrian infrastructure to help make our schools and children safer, healthier, smarter.
I’m all for drivers getting paid a fair wage. I also want our children to get a fair shake at a sustainable future and to be able to experience the fun of biking or walking safely to school.