Democracy on the Front Lines
City Administrator’s Blog
August 14, 2009
Today is the first day of school for most O’Fallon students. The high school started on Wednesday but the elementary and junior high schools began today. My daughter is in first grade and is excited to start classes with a new teacher. It seems that school starts earlier each year and now that our family is part of the school system, our calendar moves to the cadence of the school calendar
While the City does not have any authority over the school districts, we are involved in other ways. For example, we try to plan our summer construction projects around the school calendar. The project to replace the Wesley Drive culverts and dredging of the pond was planned so that the road would be open for the first day of school. Wesley opened on time on Wednesday morning.
In addition, we had two sidewalk projects that will provide better walking access to schools. We built a short sidewalk connection between the Brookside and Westbrook subdivisions so that students can walk more easily to Hinchcliffe School. We also built the sidewalk to Carriel Junior High School along Seven Hills Road from the Prairie Crossing subdivision.
Some people have asked why there is not a sidewalk north of Carriel to Wildwood. We would like to place a sidewalk there, but those properties are not in the city limits and we do not have any jurisdiction to construct a sidewalk. O’Fallon Township has pursued to build the sidewalk but the property owners have been uncooperative. So for the time being, that sidewalk connection is not forthcoming.
Another issue with new schools is traffic. At existing schools, parents are conditioned to circulate in a certain to bring some order to dropping off and picking up students. With new schools (such as the 9th Grade Center and Carriel Junior High School), nobody knows where to go or how to get in and out of the parking lot. The O’Fallon Police Department provided extra officers this week for traffic control at both schools to facilitate traffic flow. Parents will figure it out in a week or so and the officers will not be needed.