CPS unveils Walking School Bus project

CPS Community Conductors (VIDEO)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Wednesday will see see the first day for a new initiative at Cincinnati Public Schools, called the Walking School Bus Project.

Cincinnati is the only city in the country to receive federal funding for this new initiative.

The Walking School Bus Project is to provide a level a safety and security for kids walking to school as they would find riding a school bus and it's hoped there would be an added benefit.

The program funded by a $4.9 million Justice Department grant, is the first of its kind in the nation.

Initially, four schools will be involved including Ethel Taylor Academy in Millville, Frederick Douglass Elementary in Walnut Hills, Evanston Academy and Reece E. Price in East Price Hill. The district tells us these schools have been chosen because of the high number of students who have to walk.

Program director, Carmen Burke, was asked if the city's decade - high level of violence, specifically the two young Avondale girls shot in drive-by's this past July, factored in to the creation of this program.

"Hopefully that it does have a positive impact on some of the negative violence that we've been seeing in the community. It goes back to those same principals as far as the more eyes you have on the street the safer that it is for everybody," Burke said.

Data coordinator, Jessica Justice, says the Walking School Bus is also a research project.

"Through the research we are hoping to show improvements in student's grades, behavior and attendance. We are also hoping to show improvements in the culture overall in the school," Justice said.

Burke says the program uses trained community members, called conductors, who are paid 10 dollars an hour to help navigate these children to school safely and it can help parents.

"If you're a parent and perhaps you have a baby and then you have a first grader so what if your child is not provided busing. How do make sure your child gets to school," Burke said.

Four schools are involved in the pilot project for the fall, but CPS officials say they will add four more schools in the spring.

Copyright 2015 WXIX. All rights reserved.