After considerable discussion Aug. 22, the Northridge school board voted against providing transportation to students participating in extracurricular activities after school.

After considerable discussion Aug. 22, the Northridge school board voted against providing transportation to students participating in extracurricular activities after school.

Board member Lee Hatfield introduced the subject, saying he was concerned about student safety and did not like the idea of students driving to events. Hatfield said driving conditions on Northridge Road, next to the school campus, are poor but familiar, while traveling to unfamiliar places is more dangerous.

"If we look at driving practices on Northridge Road since I was young, it's not ideal driving but they drive that every single day," Hatfield said. "The concern is when we get into some of these venues they've never been to before."

Hatfield moved to have the district provide all transportation to extracurricular events, with the support of board member Jeff Schrock. Other board members argued that the policy would be disruptive, given existing pay-to-play commitments and budget constraints.

"If we're using public funds for transportation, the board should be able to to say the (expense of the) sport is prohibitive because of transportation cost, so we can't offer it as a varsity sport," said board member Chris Pokorny. "As a club sport, you would be on your own."

Hatfield said it was common practice to provide transportation to an event, but not after the event.

"As we head into the fall, with any students traveling to programming after school, my concern is there could be an issue with personal safety," Hatfield said. "I'd like to make a motion to provide busing for students to any activity that occurs after school hours Monday through Friday. The bus would drop and return to the school. It's strictly to the event, any activity involving a Northridge student (not only sports)."

Board member Jayma Bammerlin said one-way transportation also presented a safety problem, because of the alternative arrangements for returning home afterwards.

"Driving home from the event, people are really tired," Bammerlin said. "We got them there. That is almost more of a liability issue."

Board president Mark Dann said he sympathized with the concern but did not think it was practical.

"I understand where you are coming from," Dann said. "Kids driving to school, period, for any activity, freaks me out. There was a girl last year in Licking on her way to school who was killed.

"But where do you draw the line? Do we say no kids can drive to school? If you are going from C-TEC, you're driving more than 30 miles. Are we saying the only way you can get there is by bus?

"I understand where you are coming from," Dann said, "but I have a hard time saying kids can't drive to school."

Bammerlin said some sports would be particularly affected by such a policy, giving swimming as an example.

"All of their expense is transportation," Bammerlin said. "If we're going to sit there and offer a sport, now we say we're going to handle all transportation. I'm not so sure we should do that."

Hatfield and Schrock supported the motion, with Dann, Bammerlin and Pokorny opposing.