Most Claysburg-Kimmel School District taxpayers no doubt applaud the efforts of the school board and administration to reduce student transportation costs.
That commendable effort is part of a larger initiative to find cost savings everywhere in the district's operation.
But it's one thing to save money based on good judgment; it's another to implement shortsighted savings, the effect of which might have the unintended consequence of life-threatening dangers.
Unfortunately, the latter must be feared in the decision to reduce bus transportation for some elementary and secondary students residing along certain rural roads in Greenfield and Kimmel townships. That is necessitating mile-long walks to central stops along major roads.
Treks on foot of that distance would not be objectionable if the roads in question didn't have so many potential hazards; state law stipulates that if districts provide bus transportation, their students can be asked to walk up to 1 miles to a stop.
In the case of the Claysburg-Kimmel students in question, the affected routes, including Showalter and Butler Hollow roads, lack sidewalks, have deep ditches along them, and in at least one location there is a blind curve.
While there might be less concern about older students' ability to walk to and from their designated central stops safely, that cannot be said with the same degree of certainty for younger students, especially those in elementary grades.
What is particularly troubling about the Claysburg situation is that the board and administration obviously didn't exercise enough thought before implementing the questionable revisions to the district's rural-busing policy.
That caused the district to ignore a basic approach to the busing issue that many districts would have chosen first - seeking a hazardous walking route study by the state Department of Transportation in hopes of acquiring additional busing subsidies.
Despite the busing decision now being questioned, district officials reportedly still have not requested such a study but supposedly are hoping to negotiate a carpool to the stops. School board member Denny Cowher explained that if a parent on a side road could drive nearby students to a bus stop, the district could compensate him or her for gasoline.
However, such an arrangement might raise insurance and liability questions
With winter conditions not far ahead, it would be wise for Claysburg school directors and administrators to quickly brainstorm options available for ensuring safety of the students in question.
A small financial savings isn't more important than saving a child's life.
Generations ago, grandparents or parents would tell their children or grandchildren, "Back when I was your age, I used to walk five miles to get to school."
Whether the comments were truth or exaggeration, those were different times in terms of volume of vehicular traffic and other dangers, including potential presence of violent or sexual predators - although those "old" days had theirs as well.
Claysburg-Kimmel officials know they have much work to do on the busing issue. The question is whether they understand how little time they have before the changing seasons greatly multiply current concerns.