If you have ever driven, let alone walked, Upper Kimo Road in Kula, you know how steep and dangerous this road can be for an adult. Due to the last-minute decision of the Department of Education (Friday before school started), our children's bus route was cut.
Children from Kula Elementary are now expected to walk approximately a mile, down this high-traffic area, filled with rental cars, tour buses, bikers and general local traffic, to get to their new bus stop in front of Kula Lodge.
We are told that there is a budget shortfall, and that cuts are necessary, even though the state of Hawaii reportedly ended the fiscal year $300 million in the black.
I personally have two boys, one of whom is a special-needs child, on this route. Some days, I am the only parent who can watch over the eight-plus children who ride the bus. Some parents work, go to early classes at UH-MC or are driving their other children to other schools. This is why they use the bus service. They counted on a safe bus service that had been previously provided, and found out too late about the cut in the bus route.
My worst fear every morning is that I will hear an ambulance siren and find out that a child was hurt or even killed because of this dangerous budget decision. Consider what it will cost when the state and County of Maui get sued when this occurs.