Busing of Dunedin students through busy intersection still not resolved
Two state agencies have weighed in, yet it's still anybody's guess whether busing will actually cease next school year for more than 50 San Jose Elementary students.
In late March, the Florida Department of Education told city and Pinellas school officials that it was the state Department of Transportation's responsibility to study whether State Road 580 near the entrance to downtown is too dangerous for students to walk across.
In early April, state transportation officials cited high traffic volumes and the potential for crashes in its recommendation against a student crosswalk the city had reluctantly suggested for the intersection's east side.
Now, local officials find themselves back at square one.
That's because the state reimburses school districts the cost of busing students who live within a school's 2-mile walk zone only under certain circumstances.
The five-lane intersection where SR 580 meets Main Street, Skinner Boulevard and Bass Boulevard doesn't meet the state statute's thresholds for high traffic volume, high speed limit or other factors. But local officials argue that the oddly angled interchange's downhill grade and prevalence of red-light runners create a special circumstance.
Pinellas schools associate superintendent Michael Bessette says his office has bombarded the state Department of Education with phone calls and letters asking it to make an exception for San Jose Elementary.
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