As the school year gets underway this week in Killdeer, some residents that formerly relied on school busing have been forced to find another option to get their children to and from school.
By COLE BENZ
For the DC Herald
A parcel of land near Grab-and-Go in Killdeer that formerly lied within county limits was annexed into the city’s jurisdiction at the start of the year. Because the city does not provide busing services in city limits, those children whose homes are on the annexed land will no longer receive busing.
“Now that it’s [the parcels] in town, it’s a little bit different twist, based on our existing policies,” said Gary Wilz, superintendent of Killdeer Public Schools.
The school board has formed a transportation committee consisting of Wilz and two board members and, at this point, Wilz said there haven’t been any concrete resolutions to the issue.
Though, Wilz considered the issue more than just the school’s problem as he said it has more to do with the population boom brought by surrounding energy development.
“This is an evolving situation, so as the community grows, we probably need to sit down at the table, and it’s not the school or the school board, but it would be to involve the city and possibly even the department of transportation and say ‘ok, what is going to work here, what can we make work,’” Wilz said.
Students that opt to walk to school would have to cross a major road and busy Central Avenue, which is an extension of Highway 22, to get to the school playground.
Wilz said larger cities, like Bismarck and Fargo, at one point faced the same issue and both communities have resident and city development on both sides of the interstate.
Wilz didn’t want to compare those larger cities’ issues to those facing Killdeer, but he explained that they have walkways and bicycle lanes to fix some of their issues, he just wasn’t sure what was the right way for Killdeer to proceed.
There have been no meetings scheduled to discuss the situation thus far, but, according to Wilz, it’s because he is trying to coordinate more entities than those just associated with the school.
“What we’re trying to do is get more players at the table,” he added.
Wilz said he is looking to include the city, possibly the county, and the North Dakota Department of Transportation in talks to resolve the iss