It's the third week of school in Leavenworth, with teachers, students, and families settling in to routines of the typical school day schedule.
Even those without children in school have likely noticed an increase in activity throughout the district, especially at student arrival and dismissal times, and made necessary adjustments to their own routines.
School zones, crosswalks, and sidewalks are abuzz twice a day Monday through Friday, with groups of students attempting to safely navigate their way to and from school.
With a heightened community focus on school zone activity, the beginning of the school year is an ideal time to assess transportation challenges and identify safety enhancements.
On Aug. 20, the Leavenworth School Board authorized the superintendent to assess transportation of students to and from school, and propose student safety enhancements that can be implemented this school year, at a cost not to exceed $15,000. The immediate focus of the plan is on the district’s elementary-aged students.
“Student safety is our top priority, and I am appreciative of the board’s support to seek improvements on behalf of our youngest students. I am confident that we can identify and address some specific areas of concern at no additional cost to our school families or Leavenworth taxpayers,” Superintendent Mike Roth said.
The state of Kansas provides free busing for students who live 2.5 miles or further from their neighborhood school. Students living less than 2.5 miles from their neighborhood may contract directly with Easton Bus Company for transportation.
However, not every family can afford to pay approximately $55 per month for this service. While the School District positions a crossing guard at each elementary and middle school, there are still a number of key intersections and busy streets that some groups of students must navigate, sometimes without adult supervision. These specific locations are the focus of potential safety enhancement recommendations for the 2014-15 school year.   
Additionally, USD 453 and the city of Leavenworth will continue to work collaboratively to assess transportation issues throughout the school district. This involves regular meetings to discuss student and neighborhood safety, traffic flow, and emergency access. The city is currently completing sidewalk projects that will improve pedestrian movements at both David Brewer and Anthony elementary schools.
“There are a number of ways that our community can effectively partner to ensure student safety. Drivers are encouraged to be patient and allow a couple of extra minutes to travel through our school zones, while being mindful of our student walkers and bicyclists. We are appreciative of the active interest in this topic and anxious to take steps in a positive direction,” Roth said.