Thurgood busing issue may not be dead yet
The Pinellas County School Board voted to change the times last week as a cost-cutting move. But since then, parent outrage has boiled over. A student has started a petition drive. And school board member Terry Krassner now says she will try to convince the board to reverse course at its June 14 meeting.
"There's more than a big majority that would rather not have the transportation and have the hours that work for their children," she told The Gradebook.
Krassner said she wants the board to look at deleting policy language that requires that busing be provided to Thurgood and to Osceola Fundamental High School - the only fundamental schools that get busing. She said she wants the change to go into effect for Thurgood for the 2011-12 school year and for Osceola for the 2012-13 school year. She said that would allow Thurgood to change its start times back to 7:20 a.m.
Krassner's comments come as the district has been flooded with emails opposing the bell time change. About 170 have been sent to board members since Thursday's meeting. Meanwhile, a Thurgood student (full disclosure: he's the son of St. Petersburg Times employees) launched this petition.
The district says moving the start time at Thurgood will allow it to rearrange other bus routes and save $1.9 million. Superintendent Julie Janssen also said she was concerned about the families who may not be able to attend Thurgood without busing.
Seventy-three percent of those who responded to a district survey said they would provide transportation to Thurgood in order to keep the same start times; 27 percent said they would not.
Krassner said she thinks many bus riders live in nearby neighborhoods and within walking distance. She said those who need transportation still have options with car pooling.