School bus route change concerns in Scranton School District

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Scranton School District developed new, more efficient bus routes, but the changes mean students as young as kindergarten age may have to walk more than a half-hour to school.

Eyewitness News spoke with some parents who say they won’t stand for it. The Board of Directors discussed those changes during last night’s work session. Eyewitness News met some families in West Scranton who told us what the new bus routes will mean for them.

If Angel Syrylo’s kids can’t take the school bus, she’ll have to bundle up her one-year-old baby and walk her boys about 15 blocks to and from Isaac Tripp Elementary School.

“I have three kids. Walking them up to school, it’s a far walk in the snow, in the rain,” Angel said.

“I’d have to get boots on, I’d have to wear two coats. It would be a nightmare,” Isaac Tripp fourth-grader Matthew Syrylo said.

Syrylo’s husband takes their car to work in the morning, and the school doesn’t allow early drop-off.

“It would either be him being late for work every day or I would have to be walking,” Angel Syrylo said.

Her neighbor across the street is in a similar situation. She didn’t want to appear on camera but she’s one of the parents on Fillmore Avenue who received a letter from the Scranton School District.

It says bus routes have been developed that do not provide transportation to students within the walk zones. If a child’s residence is in the walk zone, plan on walking to school. The walk zone is 1.5 miles for elementary students and two miles for secondary students.

Following the recovery plan, district officials are trying to cut transportation costs with less vehicles and more efficient bus routes. That means they will no longer transport students who do not qualify.

“We were not maximizing student capacity is that true? So those are all factors that we need to improve upon that I believe will impact the financial piece that you’re all looking for,” Scranton School District Superintendent Missy Rose-McTiernan said.

Parents who live in the 130 block of S. Fillmore Avenue say their kids will need to walk to Isaac Tripp. Reporter Caroline Foreback walked the route to the school and her official time was 36:39.

Parents say there has to be a better way to save money, like redistricting as they close elementary schools.

“One of my concerns is we’re within walking distance of two elementary schools but our home school is Tripp,” Syrylo said.

“Change the boundaries around if you’re really trying to save money and stop giving unnecessary raises,” one parent said.

Technically the board is just enforcing an existing policy. But the parents Eyewitness News talked to say they want the board to think about changing it based on safety of the kids.

The board had a financial recovery advisory committee meeting Tuesday afternoon. But parents say they’re still hoping for an opportunity to make public comment.

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