The County You Live, Work And Play
Petition Against High School Bus Cuts
A petition set up by a Stewartfield mum to save free school transport for secondary school pupils has secured hundreds of signatures of support.
Proposals to increase the entitlement to free mainstream school transport for secondary pupils from more than two miles to more than three miles has been put forward by South Lanarkshire Council as part of their budget cuts.
But mum-of-three, Katie King, has accused the local authority of putting children’s lives at risk in order to balance the books.
And her petition has garnered the support of other concerned parents with nearly 460 signatures in just a few weeks.
Katie has two children at Calderglen High and a son, Robert, who is currently at Hunter Primary and if the proposals go ahead will face a three-mile walk to school each way with his sisters.
The youngsters’ furious mum started the petition in order to let other parents, many of whom she said were totally unaware of the plans, know about what could happen.
“I am doing this not only for my children but for all the pupils it could affect.
“It is utterly disgusting to expect children to walk miles to and from school with heavy bags and, in the winter time, in all weathers.
“I also feel the council have put their proposals forward as quietly as possible because I know many parents who simply weren’t aware of them.
“And some of the roads the council are expecting children to walk on are either rural, poorly lit, involve alleyways or underpasses which I, as an adult, wouldn’t even walk through.
“The only bus service we have in Stewartfield is the 31 and it’s simply not reliable. When you add in all the trips back and forward I would have to walk 12 miles a day with the children and the girls would have to leave at 7.15am to get to school on time.
“What really angers me, though, is the bus will continue to drive past our street but won’t stop to pick up the kids.
“I’m a single parent and, like many people, I can’t rely on someone else to get the kids to school. And as the majority of parents work it will be practically impossible for them to see their children safely to school. I know the council has to save money but is it really worth putting children’s lives at risk?
“I’d urge as many parents as possible to sign the petition – not just to stop this happening in East Kilbride but also throughout South Lanarkshire.”
Lynn Sherry, head of education at South Lanarkshire Council, said: “We are aware of concerns being expressed by some parents on the impact of the proposal. We have been encouraging parents to make their views known through our consultation and continue to invite them to do this.
“Included within the savings package was the proposal to increase the qualification for entitlement to free mainstream school transport for secondary pupils from ‘more than two miles’ to ‘more than three miles’.
“Our statutory consultation continues until May 13 which gives people the opportunity to put forward their views.
“It is worth highlighting the council’s criteria for evaluating safe-walking routes, with the child being accompanied by a responsible adult, will remain using the West of Scotland Road Safety Guidelines.”
Sign the petition here
Parents and young people can give their views through the online survey
The consultation document is also available on-line and can be found on the South Lanarkshire Council website www.southlanarkshire.gov.uk/schoolsconsultation
Mathew Logan 12, Katie King and Charlotte King 12, Audrey Spence, Emma Spence 13, Lorraine Logan and Alice Meldrum 12.