During the month of September, Katy ISD announced that it took several steps to address issues related to the change in eligibility requirements. Many of these initiatives are a direct result of input from parents, campus and district staff, and the community.
The district has made 13 modifications since the new transportation eligibility requirements were first implemented, which include adding seven routes and six stops to address either hazardous condition or walk distance issues. Since July, approximately 18 different hazardous areas have been identified at 14 elementary campuses, and approximately 19 different hazardous areas have been identified at 11 secondary campuses.
Sixteen crossing guards have been added and an additional 12 staffing units were approved by the Katy ISD Board of Trustees on Sept. 24. This brings the total of crossing guards in the district to 88 district-funded, compared to last year’s 60 district-funded – an increase of 47%. Additionally, the district has increased the time crossing guards are at six combined school zones to accommodate elementary and secondary starts.
The district is frequently asked if crossing guards can be added at major intersections or on busy streets at the corners outside of school zones. The Texas Transportation Code allows school crossing guards in school zones, which are those marked sections of the public roads during the posted hours or while the light is flashing. The statute does not make provision for crossing guards outside of the school zones. A type of crossing monitor could be added, but could only be used to direct students when to cross or not. They would have no authority to stop traffic.
The district has approached local municipalities to extend school zones in the following areas:
• Request for a new school zone on Mason Road – granted and installation completed
• Request for a school zone on Ashley on the north side of the Mayde Creek School Complex – under consideration
• Request to extend the school zone at Griffin onto Courtney Manor – scheduled for commissioners’ court action
• Request to extend the school zone and make other changes including a new crosswalk on Seven Meadows Boulevard – under consideration
• Extension of school zone on Kingsland at Lodgeglen – under consideration
The district continues to actively seek bus drivers. At the driver job fair held at Morton Ranch High School in August, 138 interested persons attended and 27 applicants have been recommended to hire. Before these new hires can begin driving, they must pass the required fingerprinting and criminal history search. Once completed, they must then successfully undergo training and testing, which will take four to six weeks to complete.
The Transportation Department and Office of Emergency Management continues to work with principals and individual campuses to address specifics related to transportation. This is not limited to bus routes only, but takes into account pedestrian control, traffic flow recommendations, additional crossing guard’s needs, bike rack needs, and sidewalks. The Katy ISD Police Department also has offered to provide bicycle safety training for campuses.