Supporters of Elkhart schools' referendum will walk on Monday

A cold walk might build support for Elkhart Schools' referendum, organizers hope.

Posted on Feb. 16, 2014 at 5:20 p.m.

Eileen Corson, an Elkhart Community Schools teacher, won't put on extra layers before she walks 2 miles to school Monday, Feb. 17.

She said she wants to feel as cold as some students do when they walk to school every day.

Corson will be walking with a group of other locals who support Elkhart Community Schools' referendum, which would pay for more busing so students wouldn't have to walk as far.

"I think it's important to put ourselves in our kids' shoes," Corson said, later clarifying that she does not have children of her own. "These are little kids doing what we as adults wouldn't do. We are forcing them."

The walk was organized by Yes4Elkhart, a political action committee that's campaigning for Elkhart's referendums. One referendum asks taxpayers to pay more in taxes for safety updates and repairs to school buildings.

Another separate referendum would fund transportation for the district for seven years.

As of Friday morning, 86 people had signed up to make the trek from Monger Elementary School to Central High School on Monday.

The Walk Two Miles in Their Shoes event starts at 10 a.m. Monday. The group plans to walk from Monger Elementary School to Central High School.

Crystal Barnett, an Elkhart parent, plans to be in the group. She said her kids don't walk to school, but she knows many who do.

"We all hear our grandparents' stories about having to walk in snow, over hills and across bridges, but the reality is, that's happening today," Barnett said.

She hopes that Elkhart residents will start caring more about students who walk.

"If your kid is bused or is a car rider, it doesn't affect you directly — but you should still care," Barnett said.

She's not a fan of the cold and said she surprised herself by signing up for this event. But "I guess I'm pretty passionate about it," she said.

"I just want to show that this is a long distance that these kids have to walk," she said. "Some of these kids don't have a choice."

Amy Stine, another Elkhart teacher, said her students who walk to school come in "frozen solid" during this time of year.

"Walking 2 miles, that's just too much," she said.

She hopes people in the community will listen to what the district has done so far to cut costs and realize that it wouldn't be possible to keep cutting costs.

"In Elkhart we've gotten our bang for our buck out of a lot of things," she said. "We are just in an unfortunate situation with the money coming in from the state. It's just not there. It's not enough."

For more information visit the Yes4Elkhart Facebook page.


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