rbpms-walk-zoneStudents arriving by foot, bike and bus at the primary school last September.

It seems borderline cruel to talk about this now, kids, but ‘back-to-school’ will have a different feel for several dozen students of the Red Bank Primary School come September.

A reconfiguration of the school’s ‘walk zone,’ or area in which residents are not deemed eligible for busing, means that about 50 students who used to ride buses will now be hoofing it or getting to school some other way, officials say.

The change is to be the topic of information sessions scheduled for next Tuesday and again on Wednesday, August 5. Both are scheduled for 7p at the middle school because of construction at the primary school.

The new walk zone came about after a transportation audit mandated by the state Department of Education found inefficiencies in the existing set-up, said Annie Darrow, business administrator for the Red Bank school district.

Because of slackening standards over a course of years, buses were picking up children who lived within the walk zone, she said.

“We even had children who were walking away from the school to get onto a bus,” she said.

The walk zone expansion was largely in an area of several blocks close to Newman Springs Road, she said.

As a result of the reduced expenditure for busing, the district expects to save at least $58,000 in the coming school year, she said.

The audit resulted in no change in transportation to the middle school, Darrow said. All of that school’s students from the West Side are bused because they would have to cross railroad tracks, while nearly all on the East Side live too close to the school to qualify for pickup.

Here’s a copy of a letter, in both English and Spanish versions, that was sent out yesterday to parents of students affected by the walk zone change: transportation-parent-letter