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Charter schools in the Coastal Bend look to add school zones

Richard Milburn Academy Principal Elizabeth Hanna said adding school zones on busy streets would enhance student safety.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — School zones help play an integral part in keeping children safe as they head to the classrooms, but not all charter schools have designated zones.

3NEWS reached out to six charter schools and found that some do not have a designated zone to alert drivers of nearby students. 

The Safe Route to School program aims to add safety enhancements within a quarter mile of schools as part of the City of Corpus Christi's Vision Zero project.

"Staples is a really busy street, which is one reason why we located our school here. But it is a concern for safety," said Richard Milburn Academy Principal Elizabeth Hanna.

Milburn Academy has been at their current location on Staples Street for two years. With 270 students on-campus, Hanna said a school zone is needed to enhance student safety.

"Safety and well-being of our students is the most important thing to us, and so we want to make sure that we're proactive and that we provide everything safely for our students," she said.

Renee Couture with Corpus Christi Public Works said school zones are determined as part of site development. But that does not always happen, requiring further action to get zones added to certain areas.

"That's normally determined during the development process. Sometimes it doesn't happen and, in those instances, when it doesn't the applicant can submit a request for any traffic control device," she said.

Couture said after a request is submitted, the city does a study to determine speed, traffic and other factors for the school zone. She said the studies usually take several weeks to months. 

"That process is to submit a request to the Traffic Engineering Division and we have staff to access and implement and measures that we find appropriate," she said.

Hanna said RMA initially discussed adding a school zone when they first moved in, but it never moved forward. She said the school is open to working with the city to add one soon.

"Cars do need to be aware that we are a school here and that students are moving about and we just want to make sure that everyone is safe," she said.

3NEWS reached out to other charter schools like the School of Science and Technology Elementary school on Saratoga Boulevard and Seashore Middle Academy on Padre Island. Both campuses have school zones.

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