By Laura Bunn and Chris Zhang

For parents like Leticia Acevedo, the school day starts by walking her child to the bus stop to wait for a 40-minute bus ride to Nuestro Mundo Community School.

“It would be different if there were a school nearby, right,” says Maria Rosas, a neighborhood parent whose child used to attend Nuestro Mundo. “It wouldn’t take so much time.”

Over 400 students from the Moorland-Rimrock neighborhood travel about 6 miles from home everyday to either Nuestro Mundo or Frank Allis Elementary School. Madison School Board Member Ananda Mirilli says this is unfair.

“Why are those families that are mostly brown and black families, mostly families that qualify for free reduced lunch, are being subjected to be riding the longest on the bus?” Mirilli says.

The school board is looking to build a new elementary school in the neighborhood. Michael Hertting from the Madison Metropolitan School District assumes if a school is built, it will become a community gathering spot that benefits underserved families.

“We’ll be able to offer a myriad of programming, not just during the school day, but after school,” says Hertting, the interim assistant superintendent for staff and operations. “And we’ll have parents that will have quick access to their school.”

If included in a potential November 2020 referendum and approved by the community, the new school is expected to be built here in the Rimrock area.

For now, the children from the Rimrock area continue to face both long commutes and cold winter weather.

“Sometimes we send them at a certain time, because we know what time the bus arrives, but it comes late, so it takes a lot longer, and those who are suffering from the cold are the kids,” Rosas says.

For the Badger Report, I’m Laura Bunn.

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