By Michael Abeyta

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– When most of us talk about walking to school uphill both ways in a snow storm, it’s usually an exaggeration. For some Berthoud kids who live in rural Larimer County, it was almost a reality.

Ryan Lemming and his family depend on the school bus to get the kids to Berthoud Elementary. When he found out his kids bus stop moved, he became worried.

Ryan Lemming and his family (credit: CBS)

“It moved a mile-and-a-half down the road, which doesn’t sound like much but you’re talking a mile-and-a-half with at least a 1,000 elevation change,” he says.

There is also no sidewalk along the road and many blind corners, which makes it a dangerous place to walk on a nice day and even more treacherous during a storm.

(credit: CBS)

“There’s no way I could ever let them walk on this road,” said Lemming.

Thompson School District said that the reason they moved the bus stop was not to make parents’ lives harder, it was because they’re having a hard time hiring bus drivers.

(credit: CBS)

“It’s very difficult for us to compete with municipalities and the private sector in terms of the salary that we can offer,” said Thompson School District spokesperson Michael Hausmann.

The district hired an outside company to do an audit of their system in an effort to become more efficient. That way they can continue to provide the service to parents despite their lack of drivers.

Michael Hausmann (credit: CBS)

“It’s not our intention to put people in a difficult spot. We really want to do everything we can to help them out.”

They say they are ready to work with parents if they have a concern about the changes just like they did with Ryan. They’ve since moved his bus stop to a safer location.

(credit: CBS)

Ryan says he understands the difficulties of having to do more with less, and he thinks something needs to change so that the district can have enough drivers to pick up and drop off kids safely.

“They need to make some changes to the budget or something to get more comparable wages for these bus drivers and keep them employed and keep them happy.”

Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.


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