Parents of children attending the new Holy Cross Catholic Elementary School in Sudbury's south end are not impressed by the lack of a four-way stop and a crossing guard at the busy intersection in front of the school.
They are also unhappy about a busing policy that means a student as young as five must walk a kilometre to school, a busing policy that also separates siblings.
"We have [spoken] with the city, and they are in the process of hiring somebody [as a crossing guard]. But, for the end of the day, what we've set in place is that a teacher will always be walking the students down to the crossing guard. And, for this week, if that crossing guard is not there, we will be crossing the students ourselves," said Louise Franklin, the school's principal.
The city says is has reduced the speed limit in the area, and will conduct a vehicle and pedestrian count this fall to determine if a four-way stop is required
That's not enough for Michelle Ongaro and her children.
Ongaro will be dropping her kids off at school herself throughout the year, because one can be bused and the other cannot.
"Being brother and sister, she's pretty upset that she has to take the bus, and her brother gets to walk," Ongaro said.
Her son is in Grade 5; her daughter is in Grade 1.
"Because my daughter is a lower age, she will be bused. The distance they've pinpointed for her is one kilometre. However, my son, being older, his kilometre [distance] was 1.6," Ongaro said.
The numbers Ongaro refer to are the walking distances put into place by the Sudbury Students Services Consortium, the group that manages the busing of students.
"All school boards across the province have walk distance policies. Sudbury's walk distances are shorter on average," said Renée Boucher, executive director of the consortium.
According to consortium policy, all junior kindergarten and senior kindergarten students can be bused.
Children between Grade 1 and Grade 3 must walk if they live within one kilometre of the school.
For Grade 4 to Grade 8, that distance is 1.6 kilometres, and for high school students it's 2.5 kilometres.
Boucher says the consortium receives many complaints from parents every year but, that it isn't able to make any exceptions to the walking distances.