Pinellas busing chaos, Day 2
Students from Pinellas Park, Dixie Hollins, Osceola, Lakewood and St. Petersburg high schools began arriving at their bus stop at 66th Street and Fifth Avenue N at 5:45 a.m. They stationed themselves on one of the four corners of the busy intersection and hoped they were in the right spot.
District transportation personnel arrived at 6, studied route sheets under the glow of street lights and called out directions. At times, they appeared as confused as the kids.
At least one Pinellas Park High student missed his bus because he was on the wrong corner.
As they did Tuesday, many parents pulled into the fire station on the Southeast corner or the dentist’s office on the Northeast corner to drop off their children. But some simply stopped at the light – whether it was red or green – let their kids out, and kept going.
Ron Schnell waited with his daughter, a Lakewood High 10th-grader.
“I’m insulted,” Schnell said of the district’s presence at the corner. “Why weren’t they here yesterday?”
District transportation director Rick McBride had indicated late Tuesday that the stop likely would be changed. But field operations supervisor Bill Moan said this morning that “once we designate which corner they should stand on, things should be fine.”
There was one bright spot: Students waiting for the bus to Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School were told their new stop would be about 200 feet north of the intersection at a PSTA bus shelter.
That pleased Teal Anderson, who watched as her 12-year-old daughter walked with a dozen other middle schoolers toward the shelter. Several minutes later, Anderson tensed as a city bus pulled up to the stop and opened its doors.
She only started breathing again as the bus rumbled away with no school kids on board.
Donna Winchester, Pinellas Schools Reporter