YORKVILLE – School officials are planning to address continuing bus stop arm violations in the form of a public discussion with more community representatives soon.
Lisa Banovetz, director of business services for Yorkville School District 115, said there have been 195 reported bus stop arm violations since Dec. 1, 2018 within the district as part of her update on the subject during the Monday, June 24 Board of Education meeting at Yorkville High School. She said there are an average of about 32 violations happening every month.
Banovetz said she talked with Kendall County State’s Attorney Eric Weis more about why violator demographics are not tracked. She said Weis told her that the state’s attorney’s office only tracks the violations as traffic violations and doesn’t specifically track traffic violations by type of violation as they come in, including moving violations, speeding or stop arm violations.
Banovetz said Weis told her he can’t specifically identify the stop arm violations currently. She said there’s also a timing issue of when violation occurs and when actually prosecuted, since it could be 9 months between occurrence and time it comes to court.
“There are just a bunch of different outcomes,” Banovetz said.
School board member Gary Katula said during the Monday, June 24 meeting that the board has been told before that police couldn’t commit to patrolling high-risk bus stops. He said he wasn’t sure why police couldn’t sit at those areas when there is enough tracking data to identify those problem areas, including in front of Target.
“That doesn’t make any sense at all,” Katula said.
After discussing it with the school board during the Monday, June 24 meeting, Banovetz said the goal is to get state’s attorney representatives – among city, law enforcement and bus arm camera representatives – to attend a committee meeting and discuss with school board members and district families about issues related to bus stop arm violations. Those issues may include financing new bus stop arm cameras and what can be done to increase enforcement for those types of violations.
“We would like the appropriate representatives to address specific questions that would be in their specific areas,” Banovetz said.
Banovetz said there were 38 violations in May and 39 in April, along with there being 38 in February, 29 in January and 29 in December. She said nothing has been reported yet for June from Septran, the district’s bussing contractor, and that summer school just started on June 10.
“I’m hoping that means there haven’t been any, but it could mean they haven’t been updated,” Banovetz said. “I just don’t know.”
Banovitz said whether the discussion with representatives would appear on the agenda for the next school board committee meetings will depend on their availability. She said school officials are working on reaching out to those representatives and finalizing a date for the discussion.
The update follows the board approving the program at its Nov. 26 meeting to place 10 cameras on the stop sign arms of the buses run by Septran at $324.90 per camera.
Board president Lynn Burks said the cost of new cameras, since the current ones are a few generations behind, hasn’t really mattered because there hasn’t been a reduction in violations. She said the district could buy all of the cameras in the world and it’s still not eliminating the issue or making the situation any safer.
“And our job is to make this situation safer,” Burks said.
The board also got an update on Illinois House Bill 1873, which would double the fines for offenders who fail to stop for school buses. The current fees for first and second time offenders are $150 and $500, respectively.
According to the bill, the license suspension time would remain the same, which is three months for first offense and up to a year for a second time. Banovetz said her office got the update that the bill was sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk on June 14 and that he has less than 60 days to sign the bill.
The next school board committee meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 5 at the Yorkville District 115 Center for Innovation, 604B Center Parkway.