Oct 19 2012 by Craig Robertson, Kilmarnock Standard
Parents have vowed to fight controversial council plans to scrap some school bus services.
A cost-cutting move could see the rules changed around free transport for pupils forcing hundreds to find their own way to classes.
Thats infuriated parents in Kilmarnocks north west who are worried that a safe walking route to James Hamilton and St Josephs Academies is over the dangerous Dean Ford.
The parent councils of Onthank and Mount Carmel Primaries and the two academies have now got together to fight the proposals.
The savings proposal is contained in a council document which outlines how cash can be saved.
Officials need to plug at s34m budget black hole by 2016/17.
At the moment, the council provides a free bus service for pupils who live two miles or more from their secondary school.
But the savings proposals states that provision for all secondary pupils be reduced in line with the statutory distance of three miles where a safe walking route could be identified.
Scott Thomson, chiarman of Onthank Parent Council, says between 400 and 500 pupils in his local area will be affected by raising the distance to three miles.
He told the Standard: The people this will affect the most is the parents who dont have cars.
Their children will have to walk to school.
The main concern is the route which is over the bridge which crosses the ford in Dean Park.
How do they expect children to walk this way when it is flooded?
Ironically, if you walked a longer way to avoid it, it would be more than three miles to school.
He added: We believe this is to save around s80,000 but is this the price the council puts on a childs safety?
A council spokeswoman said on Wednesday that they were unable to confirm, at this moment in time. the amount to be saved or how many children it would affect.
She said: East Ayrshire Council will be carrying out a budget consultation within our local communities.
It is anticipated that there will be a week-long programme of events and meetings commencing November 5 giving local people every opportunity to contribute their views on the councils budget proposals.
School transport will be one of a wide range of areas for review and consideration as part of this process.
The budget exercise will be about expenditure across the whole council area.
The parent councils have lined up a public meeting at Onthank Primary School on Wednesday, October 31 at 7pm.
Scott, whose two children go to Onthank Primary, added: This is a historic meeting as never before have these schools joined forces to prevent such an unpopular intended change in policy.
We have crossed the religious divide to stand shoulder to shoulder to lobby against this ridiculous move.
Given the world we live in, with reported attempted child abductions in the Kilmarnock area and a missing child in the headlines, should EAC be even considering such a proposal?
If you are concerned, join us in our bid to lobby East Ayrshire Council.