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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Hillsborough's ESE and school bus issues will be considered together



If it seems a lot of eyes are on transportation and exceptional student education in Hillsborough County, they are.

Bus driver trainers are alleging they're told to hide mistakes. Critics say the district did not do what it promised to make special-needs students safer.

While investigations are ongoing, Superintendent MaryEllen Elia told the School Board Friday her staff will issue a comprehensive report on both complex issues.

It will include:

* An interim report by School Bus Consultants, which was hired for $38,500 to assess the transportation department and get the district started in buying new buses.

* Results of the Office of Professional Standards' investigation into allegations by four trainers, who say they're asked not to document mistakes that could endanger children. They've raised other safety issues in the department as well.

* Feedback from eight bus driver focus group sessions that were scheduled this week and the week after Spring Break.

* A look back at the work of an ESE Task Force that was established after two special-needs died in 2012. "A review of ESE Task Force recommendations is being completed by all effected departments to ascertain status of continued implementation of recommendations," Elia wrote.

The "comprehensive action plan," as Elia is calling it, will be completed two weeks after she receives all of the information described above.

[Last modified: Friday, March 7, 2014 4:20pm]


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