District 214 Re-Considers Denial of School Bus Stop: Permanent Residence of Only 1 Divorced Parent Recognized

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District 214 parents, Brenda Frederick and Randy Nalepa earlier this month sent a formal written request to District 214 offices requesting bus transportation to and from John Hersey High School (JHHS) for their daughter, who is planning to attend JHHS this year as an incoming freshman. Unfortunately for the busy parents, their schedules and their motor gas bill; District 214 will only let their daughter use a bus stop at one of the parent’s home neighborhoods — even though both parents are within the JHHS boundaries, and the bus already stops in both of the parent’s neighborhoods.

The soon-to-be Hersey Huskie parents have not lived in the same home together for more than 11 years and share legal custody and physical care for their daughter on 50/50 shared basis. Although both parents maintain permanent residences in the JHHS district, according to District 214 “bus transportation is provided to and from school from the student’s permanent residence on record”. Parents Brenda Frederick and Randy Nalepa can’t find this directive in District 214’s transportation policy 4:110. A response from District 214 states that “for safety and consistency, District 214 is only able to provide transportation daily on the same bus route.” District 214 transportation will be provided from father’s home, which is located in the JHHS district in Mount Prospect.

What does the school board policy state regarding transportation?
“The District shall provide free transportation for pupils residing at a distance of one and one-half miles or more from any school to which they are assigned for attendance” and apparently stance does not honor the court order related to the divorce. According to the parents, their court order states that their daughter has two residences; neither parent is a custodial parent, a residential custody parent, or primary parent. Custody is shared 50/50. Despite this court order, which was given to District 214, the District is choosing to recognize only one residence.

After purchasing a home, and moving into the Hersey district in March of 2012, mother, Brenda Frederick was not anticipating an issue of how her daughter would get to and from school, especially when learning that the bus stop is at the end of the block of her new home, and that another school bus stop is located near the father’s home in Mount Prospect.

Last Thursday night, mother and daughter addressed the District 214 School Board requesting they agree to permit the student to utilize the already existing busing to both permanent residences, not only to one. Following the board meeting Frederick stated, “The district benefits from two households paying real estate taxes. Although issues of safety and liability were cited as concerns of the district, many school districts across the nation do provide busing to dual residences, and have made the effort to work with parents and children to provide transportation.” Father, Randy Nalepa added, “not providing transportation to both residences presents more of a safety and consistency issue in my opinion.”

Both parents hope and trust that District 214 will consider their request, their legal custody agreement, and do the right thing, and, at the very least try to work with them to make this happen.

District 214 School Board President, William Dussling, indicated that the District will respond to the request within two weeks following their appearance at the school board meeting.

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  1. Why would a school board create a policy to benefit all children without predjudice and then behave with predjudice toward children of dual households? Every student in the school district regardless of their residential circumstances must be afforded the same consideration when it comes to providing safe transportation to and from school. If a student meets the distance criteria that the school board has established, then it is their responsibility to stand behind it.

  2. The parents are making a reasonable request that should be supported by the school district. They both pay taxes to the school district. I agree that providing transportation to only one house presents a greater safety issue. What is the student to do on days she goes to her mother’s home? Must she walk alone for 1 1/2 or more miles when a bus stops at the end of her block? That makes absolutely no sense! I can see where the policy might make sense for a small child who might be confused about where he or she is supposed to go, but this is a high school student who is perfectly capable of knowing what bus to get on. Additionally, if the bus drivers have a list of students who are to ride their specific bus, her name can be listed on both. Certainly she is not the only student faced with this issue. The policy needs to be changed.

  3. This makes no sense. If a child lives with both parents equally, shoudln’t transportataion be provided equally? This is especially true if both are tax payers and live within the district. Seem to me, if the bus is already making stops in both neighborhoods, there shouldn’t be an issue!

  4. We live in changing times. It is very common to have dual/ joint custody in 2013. It takes most homes two incomes to support their families so why would it be different if they are divorced. The other piece is this arrangement is through a court order, so it appears to me District 214 needs to do the right thing and make it work for all parties concerned. Both parents are tax payers in D214 . I am sure they all have the best interest of their child and her safety at the forefront of this request . Deviations are made for children that attend alternative schools. This cannot be that difficult to accommodate !

  5. This is not fair. Both parents live in the school district, pay taxes that support the school, so their daughter should be allowed to take the bus from either home. It’s not like the bus driver takes roll of the students on the bus. It shouldn’t matter whether they pick up at one or the other stop. I thought schools are suppose to look out for the children that attend their schools. By not allowing her to take the bus from both parents house, shows they do not care. District 214 really needs to rethink this. I’m sure there are other parents in the same situation.

  6. I’ve know Brenda for nine years and the shared custody schedule approved by the court has remained virtually unchanged during that time. I also know that their daughter has been looking forward to going to Hersey and the residential decisions Brenda has made have been focused on that objective. I concur with all the comments made by others and find it untenable that D214 would take such a stance in this day and age. By what authority do they believe that their unwavering stance can override a court order? Subjecting this high school freshman (and her parents) to this situation is highly stressful and totally uncalled for.

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