As Northridge times the bus routes to nonpublic schools, not everyone is happy with the results or the methodology.

As Northridge times the bus routes to nonpublic schools, not everyone is happy with the results or the methodology.

The district is in the process of determining whether it takes buses longer than 30 minutes to reach Gahanna Christian, St. Matthew and Liberty Christian schools. The district must transport students who live within the Northridge district but attend nonpublic schools unless the trip to the school takes longer than 30 minutes.

The district determined on its own that those three schools were beyond the 30-minute range; however, parents Bill Jones, Douglas Van Fossen and Scott Treadway sued the district because they believe it did not follow legal procedure when making those determinations.

The district then agreed to make more trial runs and official runs, with Ohio Department of Education representatives along for the ride. As of Aug. 30, the district made trial runs to all three schools and completed an official run to Gahanna Christian with an ODE representative.

Northridge school board member Doug Hart said the official run to Gahanna Christian took longer than 30 minutes.

"I believe we came out at 33 minutes," he said. "They hit every light green, so that's about as fast as they could do it."

He said the trial run to St. Matthew took 38 minutes, and the trial run to Liberty Christian took 31.5 minutes. Hart said the official run to Liberty Christian was to occur Aug. 30 and the official St. Matthew run Aug. 31 (after ThisWeek's press time).

"I confirmed that all the routes taken were the shortest," he said. "I believe Gahanna Christian is a route we don't have to do, at least from Northridge High School."

Jones joined the Liberty Christian run and said he wasn't satisfied with the results. He said ODE guidelines say the run should start "at a time that would get the pupils to school near the acceptable arrival time."

"Our kid's school starts at 8:30," he said, adding that he believes and acceptable arrival time would be 8:15 or 8:20, which means the timing run should have started at 7:45 or later. "The school run started at 7:20, the busiest time of the morning in the parking lot. "It took two minutes to go the 75 yards to get over to the bus garage."

He said driver Pam Cheadle drove below the speed limit by at least 5 mph for the entire route, except for a few miles of state Route 310.

"I reminded her that the speed limit was 55 on these roads, and she said, 'These buses can't travel that fast on these bumpy roads.' Northridge is not a bumpy road, and neither is Jersey Mill."

Jones said ODE guidelines state that the run should occur in fair weather.

"There was thick fog along the route in certain areas near Alexandria," he said.

Jones said the run came in at 31.5 minutes.

"Take away the 2-minute delay because of the chaos in the parking lot and the run is under 30," he said. "Add in a few more miles per hour and a few more minutes come off. The fix was in. They continue to skirt the law when they can and take advantage of the system. Any system has loopholes for those that live their lives in loopholes."

Jones continued, "We are attempting to either get them to rerun the route fairly or at least get the ODE run to be run fairly."

He said the route to Liberty Christian is 18 miles.

"You have to work awful hard to stretch 18 miles into 30-plus minutes when the majority of the run is at 55-mph speed limits," Jones said.

Hart disagreed with Jones' account of Jersey Mill Road.

"I defy anyone to run a school bus on Jersey Mill at 55," he said. "It is curvy; it's hilly,; and it's narrow."

Jones said Aug. 30 that he believes the issue would be heard in court.