Goshen News, Goshen, IN

June 21, 2013

City is responsible for sidewalks

— I was sorry to read that the Republicans on the Goshen City Council on Tuesday voted to reject the proposal by the Goshen Community Schools to split the cost in sidewalk construction deemed necessary due to the one-mile walk zones being enforced this fall. The corporation took a hit because of property tax caps, which necessitated cutting $500,000 from their transportation fund.

Council President Jim McKee was correct when he stated that the city had been hurt by the same tax caps. However, Mr. McKee was way off base when he said, “I think it is the school’s job to make sure the kids are safe,” implying on their way to school. Actually, it is the school’s job to make sure our children are safe when they are in school. It is not solely their responsibility to make sure they are safe on the way to school.

Section 20 of Indiana Code states that “The governing body of a school corporation may provide transportation for students to and from school.” “May,” not “shall.” In Indiana, school corporations are not mandated to provide transportation.

The responsibility for the safety of our children walking to and from school rests on both parents and the larger community. It seems to me that it would have been more proper for the City Council, upon seeing the larger walking zones, to come up with a plan and ask the school corporation if it could shoulder some of the costs in constructing new sidewalks.

The city has a sidewalk replacement program which pays part of the cost of sidewalks for property owners in Goshen. Why would we neglect the safety of our children as they walk (in the dark for part of the year) to our schools, along streets that have no sidewalks?

— Matthew Lind