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Get ready for back-to-school gridlock (and a note about Denton ISD bus routes)

School starts for Denton ISD students on Thursday. Parents and caregivers, make sure you add waiting-in-line time to your first week’s drop-off plans.
School starts for Denton ISD students on Thursday. Parents and caregivers, make sure you add waiting-in-line time to your first week’s drop-off plans.

School starts for Denton ISD students on Thursday, and probably the most important note for families as they fill up the gas tank to drop the kids off at school?

Leave early.

Traffic will be bad.

On some campuses, families will certainly be gnashing their teeth. If your student’s school is located off of U.S. Highway 380 — we’re looking at you, Braswell High School — build in extra drive time from what you remember from last year, because there will be cars. Hundreds of them. And SUVs. And pickup trucks.

If you don’t add waiting-in-line time to your first week’s drop-off plans, your student could miss part of their first class. And if your student is headed to a brand-new school? Learn from the experience of parents who dropped off Denton High School Broncos at the new campus last year and prepare to be in line for 45 minutes to be safe.

For families who aren’t eligible for transportation by school bus (more on that in a minute), this week and next week might bring about some frustration if you forgot about the heavy traffic at district schools.

Rest assured, after the first week of school, families have often coordinated with others to carpool and have learned the ins and outs of drop-off and pickup lines.

About those buses

To be eligible to ride a Denton ISD bus, a student must live more than 2 miles from the school they are zoned to attend. The district’s transportation officials determine how far your family lives from the zoned campus by measuring the shortest route using public roads from the property line of the rider to the property line of the school. The routes are not determined by using the safest walking distance to the school.

District officials warn that commercial mapping systems like Google Maps, Waze and MapQuest might not be able to accurately measure distances less than 2 miles.

Who has the final say about bus routes?

The Texas Education Agency directs districts to measure the distances in “reasonably accurate and consistent manner” using the shortest routes available on publicly maintained roads. The TEA governs Texas school transportation operations and transportation funding for Texas public school students.

What points determine the starting and destination points for buses?

Denton ISD uses established public landmarks at the student’s campus — the front entrance, for instance — and a landmark at the student’s residence — the property line, driveway or front door, for example.

What if you live across the street from the 2-mile line?

“There may be homes within a community that are eligible for transportation next to or very near homes that are not,” Denton ISD transportation officials say on the district website. “While it may appear to be a simple matter of extending services to non-eligible families that are close to existing stops, we are simply not able to do this without greatly impacting the ridership across the District.”