Thursday, July 13, 2000

Getting in St. X only first hurdle

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOVELAND — Fourteen-year-old Larry Stosman passed the rigorous admissions test for St. Xavier High School, but now simple changes in bus service stand between him and the Aug. 24 start of classes.

        Everything seemed to be in order for his first day until last month, when the boy's family learned Kings Local Schools, Larry's home district, will no longer bus outside students to the private, college preparatory school in Finneytown because of its distance.

        So, Alex Stosman arranged for his son to ride to St. X on a public school bus from the Sycamore Schools district.

        But Sycamore canceled the service last month because of problems with nondistrict students riding its buses last spring, said Janet Schultz, the district's transportation manager.

        Mr. Stosman estimates as many as 30 freshmen and sophomores from Mason City and Kings Local schools could use transportation to St. X. He's talked to seven families who are worried about the long commute.

        St. X Principal David Mueller said he did not know how many students may be affected, but the school of 1,400 students draws boys from across Greater Cincinnati, so transportation is a problem for some families.

        Mason has never offered transportation to St. X because the school is outside the state's 30-minute limit, said Carole Abrams, Mason's assistant supervisor of trans portation. Ohio requires transportation be provided to private schools within 30 minutes' driving time from a student's public school.

        Loveland City School District had provided the service. But last year, Loveland canceled it for students from other districts because a growing number of its own students requested transportation to private schools, said Loveland's business manager John Ames.

        And Kings Local checked the travel time to St. X twice about four to five years ago, said Pamela Freson, the district's transportation supervisor. Both times, the route was six to seven minutes beyond the 30-minute limit, she said.

        Parents may be upset, but the 30-minute cutoff is the law, said Pete Japikse, director of pupil transportation at the Ohio State Department of Education.

        “Unfortunately, 30 minutes is the line,” he said.

        For the Stosmans, being just six or seven minutes beyond the 30-minute cutoff is frustrating.

        Mr. Stosman said he hopes Kings will retime the route before school starts.

        “I don't know what I'll do if there is no transportation.”


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