The pro-consolidation group, Committee of Ten held an trial bus ride and tour of the Abingdon junior high last night. For many parents and students the real issue isn't education, it's the thought of long daily bus rides. Thursday night's event and another planned for later this month are meant to illustrate that the bus rides aren't as troublesome as many believe.
"It sealed my decision," Jan Hensley said.
Jan Hensley is a Bushnell/Prairie City School District parent. She attended Thursday night's Abingdon Junior High tour and was more than satisfied with what she saw.
"The tour was amazing," Hensley said. "The facility is amazing and the technology they have here is wonderful I was very very impressed."
For many parents the tour secured their vote to check yes at the March 20th primaries.
"Most definitely," Peggy Miller, an Avon School District parent, said. "We put a "vote yes" consolidation sign in our yard today and I've already had two people give me a call and ask me if I could get them a sign so most definitely."
There is some concern that long bus rides could be detrimental for students. Many students living in the country side of school districts could see up to an hour bus ride to and from school.
"I think it's a dangerous road I've heard and I don't want someone that I care about or the people I love from Abingdon to get hurt just for traveling 30 minutes for 45 minutes to go to school," Kerstyn Campbell, a sophomore at Abingdon High School, said Kerstyn Campbell a sophomore at Abingdon High School.
Thursday night I took a trial bus ride from Avon to Abingdon where the junior high will be if the consolidation goes through. It took 13 minutes. The Bushnell bus traveling to the junior high took 31 minutes. Travel times will increase for some students during the regular school year. But for some parents a long bus ride is a small price to pay.
"I actually live on the other side of Bushnell closer to Macomb and for me all the positive aspects out weigh the transportation," Hensley said.