MILFORD - Milford parents today criticized a decision made by public school officials that will force students next fall to walk to and from school instead of taking the bus.

The Milford Board of Education voted Monday night to reclassify 180 students districtwide as walkers.

The vote comes after a traffic expert was hired by the district to study safety around the city's schools. They say hundreds more could be reclassified as walkers as well if the city decides to have more crosswalks, crossing guard locations and build more sidewalks.

Officials say students who live within 2 miles of a high school could be affected. Middle school students who live within 1 1/2 miles of their school and elementary school students who live within 1 mile will be classified as walkers. Officials say less than 20 elementary school students will be affected.

Some parents say the change will be a difficult transition for families that have relied on the bus service for years.

Notices will go out to parents in two weeks. School officials say parents can then appeal to the Board of Education explaining why their student's walking route is unsafe.