Franklin Township prepares for school traffic changes

© As many as half Franklin Township students will not be riding buses this year.
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INDIANAPOLIS - The school year is beginning soon for thousands of students across Indiana. That means extra cars, buses and children on the roads.

Starting this year in Franklin Township, parents of public school children are required to pay an outside firm more than $400 a year per student if they want students to ride the bus to and from school.

The school system outsourced its busing because of a budget crisis. Now all nine schools in the district are introducing new arrival and dismissal plans, considering the possibility that there will be a big increase in cars dropping off students.

One of those schools is Kitley Elementary School at 8735 Indian Creek Rd.

Kitley administrators say they've mapped out a plan that requires all car riders to be dropped off and picked up at the back of the school. The buses will drop off students in the front.

A map and a list of procedures is available to parents on-line at the school's website. Parents can also pick up this information at the school's ice cream socials this Thursday and Friday.

Kitley administrators say starting this year, they're allowing students to be dropped off 25 minutes before the start of school and picked up as late as 25 minutes after dismissal so that the process goes smoothly.

Lynlie Weeks, assistant principal at Kitley Elementary, says they believe they're ready. "We have brought in all kinds of support in the community: school police, parents, IMPD. We've talked to several people, maintenance staff, in establishing a plan that puts students first, that makes sure our focus is on them and we bring them in the safest way, not the quickest way," said Weeks.

Parents have until tomorrow, August 2nd, to sign up for bus service.

The Marion County Health Department says pedestrian accidents are the second-leading cause of unintentional deaths among 5- to 14-year-olds. School officials are working hard to make sure they don't add to those statistics.