Ditch on path to McKinney elementary school worries parents

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on October 26, 2012 at 5:38 PM

McKINNEY -- When you think about walking to school, images come to mind of crossing guards leading students safely across the street.

But at Mooneyham Elementary in McKinney, it's a different story.

The parents say every day, about 150 kids cross a slimy, slippery drainage ditch to get to school. One mother called it "a serious accident waiting to happen." They're calling on their school district and two different cities to make it safe.

It's a typical after-school scenario at Frisco ISD's Mooneyham Elementary. Dozens of kids take a shortcut home by crossing the  drainage ditch.

"Their only way to get across the water without getting wet are these concrete pillars," said Keith Brunson, who has two children at the school. "So I've seen kids wipe out. My son's wiped out. So they either get wet or bang up their knees. So our concern is their general safety."

Brunson shot these photos of kids crossing the ditch by actually getting in it.  When the water is low, it's often filled with algae, making it hard to find footing.

"The embankment is pretty steep and it gets extremely muddy whenever it rains," said Kendra Hall, who also has two children at Mooneyham. "But also, there's no actual foothold for the children to use to cross the water."

The parents want a bridge built, giving their kids safe access to the school.

"It's actually going to take some kind of bridge across here to get them safely across the ditch," Brunson said.

But building that bridge will be complicated.

Mooneyham, a Frisco ISD school, is located in McKinney. Homeowners associations and the developer have been meeting with the both cities and the school district for the last month.

But according to Frisco ISD spokesperson Shana McKay-Wortham, "Many folks are working on it, but the solution is not there yet. It's not a quick process."

Kendra Hall said McKinney officials told her it would be an expensive proposition.

"They say it could cost over $100,000 to build the bridge they need to build here, because they have to go above the water plain," Hall said.

Many of the kids who now cross the ditch rode the bus last year, but the district discontinued bus service was a new road opened. Parents say since the trek over the ditch is the shortest route between their homes and the school, it needs to be safe.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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