Jaelin Cox, 6, attended prekindergarten three miles from her home in rural Cimarron County. She would get on the bus at 8 a.m. and be home a little after 3 p.m.
Then Plainview Elementary School District closed in June 2011, sending about two dozen students to surrounding districts. Now Jaelin takes the bus about 25 miles to Boise City for school, getting home at 4:30 p.m. Bedtime is 7 p.m. so that she can catch the bus at 6:45 the next morning. “That’s two and a half hours that I can see her and be a part of her life,” her mother, Jennifer Cox, said. “I don’t like it.”
In the Panhandle and other rural areas of Oklahoma, school district consolidation can mean longer bus routes — leading to long, tiring days for schoolchildren and thousands of dollars in added fuel and insurance costs for districts.