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Scheduled to open this fall, the Thurgood Marshall Middle School will be the newest San Diego Unified School District campus to open in the Scripps Ranch area. But as it prepares for September, the district is tackling safety concerns raised by parents who worry about their kids walking on or crossing the busy Pomerado Road, the main thoroughfare in the area.

A long-term solution could involve a pedestrian bridge over the road, or a tunnel. In the meantime, however, the school has begun collecting funds from parents interested in having a private company provide busing services to the school. (The district says it doesn’t have any of its own buses to spare.) Most parents at the school expressed interest, and the first $100 of the total $550 annual bus fee was due May 31. Students receiving free or reduced lunches do not have to pay.

There’s just one problem: Current district policy provides for only free busing for students in special programs and those attending underperforming schools. The policy (page 91) does leave the door open for parent-paid bus services “in exceptional situations.”

The school has asked the district trustees to approve an exception to the policy that would allow the busing next year. The board members will discuss the item at their meeting next Tuesday.

VLADIMIR KOGAN

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