TYLER, TX (KLTV) - They say timing is everything, and that’s especially true when it comes to school zones. Some Tyler parents are raising questions about school zones saying they start too late. Some of the flashing lights coming on just 20 minutes before the first bell rings.
“Although we eat breakfast at home, our kids sometimes like to have a second breakfast,” parent Heather Kueber said. “We try to drop off between 7:20 and 7:25. And here at Owen’s Elementary, I know our lights come on before 7:30.”
And while the school zone light’s at Kuebers' kid’s school comes on before 7:30, that’s not the case at all Tyler schools. At Jack Elementary, the lights don’t come on until 7:30. Followed just 20 minutes later by the tardy bell at 7:50.
Tyler ISD says when it comes to whose responsible for school zones, it’s a collaborative effort between the district, the city, and the Texas Department of Transportation.
“There are times that we take isolated situations that may not be happening in one area that might be happening in another area," Rawly Sanchez, TISD Assistant Superintendent said. “So we want to be able to identify those areas and then do something about it”
Sanchez says when deciding on when school zone lights should come on and go off, officials not only look at what time a particular campus starts but also look at nearby schools and their start times.
“At the end of the day, school zones are intended to help traffic slow down so that kids can walk to school safely,” Sanchez said. “So being able to coordinate that we have to look at what time do we start elementary schools, what time do we start middle schools, and what time do we start high schools...and finish also.”
Some TxDOT manuals recommend school zones become active approximately 45 minutes before classes begin. Although that decision is ultimately up to local officials. TISD says they welcome parents to express their concerns because safety is a top priority.
“You know parents might forgive us if the kids don’t read properly," Sanchez said. "They might forgive us if they aren’t able to do math at the level we expect them to. But they’ll never forget us if their kid gets hurt.”