The explanation turned out to be user error. Somehow, I had selected walking, instead of driving, as my means of travel. My next search showed a much quicker and easier 5 hour trip.
Along with the students, I met librarians, counselors, teachers, principals, secretaries, and security officers. The common thread woven throughout my visits was dedication and enthusiasm. Nary a discouraging word was heard anywhere.
If I get a chance to return to Springdale Public Schools, I won't let a mere 85 hour walk stop me.