Most Rochester students don't attend neighborhood schools

Monday, March 24, 2014

The warren of residential streets in the Maplewood neighborhood is nearly overrun by school buses early weekday mornings, and somewhere on those buses there will be seats for Rhonda Olyer's children.

No matter that School 7 is a short walk away, and School 41 just a bit farther — the kids will take the bus. On that point Olyer is firm.

"I don't like the schools around here," she said moments after watching her daughter, 10-year-old Jayana Smith, board the bus for a three-mile trip to School 43 one morning. . "I had a few family members that went to School 7 and they always got head lice or bed bugs or something. ... You've got eight or nine people on the street hustling, right outside."

Olyer isn't alone. Whether for infestations of insects or crime or simply for convenience, parents in the Rochester School District overwhelmingly send their children to schools other than the ones within walking distance.

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