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So. Lehigh Parent: Children's 75-Minute Bus Ride is Too Long

A Southern Lehigh School District mother whose children attend St. Thomas More School in Salisbury Township told the school board Monday the amount of time her children spend on the bus on their way home is too much.

A Southern Lehigh School District mother whose children attend St. Thomas More School in Salisbury Township told the school board Monday the amount of time her children spend on the bus on their way home is too much.

Sonja Burmeister of Upper Saucon Township said her three elementary-age children who attend the Catholic school near Allentown are often on the bus for as long as 75 minutes, leaving the school at 2:50 p.m. and arriving home at 4:05 p.m.

What lengthens their ride on some days is a 15-minute stop at the Swain School in Allentown, Burmeister said.

The Southern Lehigh School District provides Burmeister's children's transportation, as it is required to do for children attending other schools within 10 miles of the district's borders.

The district's director of support services, Todd Bergey, indicated that the 75-minute ride time Burmeister cited is within the district's maximum allowable limit for children not attending Southern Lehigh schools, which is 90 minutes.

Picking the children up from school herself is not an option, Burmeister said, explaining that she also has a four-year-old at home.

"[In the afternoon] I'm home trying to prepare a healthy meal for my children before I get them ready for sports activities," she told the board. " It's just a long time for these small children to be on these buses."

Burmeister, who was joined by two other mothers of St. Thomas More students who live in the district, asked if a small bus might be available for all the children who attend that school.

She said she understands that additional money for bus transportation for students attending a Catholic school is probably not an option.

Board members thanked her for bringing the issue to light, but did not comment on the matter, as is their policy at meetings where issues are raised from the floor.

Patch file photo

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