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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Stuart: The school district does work with the county on roads. Let us count the ways

Contrary to what some Hillsborough County commissioners are suggesting, school and county officials meet regularly to discuss schools and traffic, School Board chairwoman Cindy Stuart said.

TIMES FILES

Contrary to what some Hillsborough County commissioners are suggesting, school and county officials meet regularly to discuss schools and traffic, School Board chairwoman Cindy Stuart said.

11

January

Told on Tuesday that Hillsborough County Commissioners were blaming the school district for the growing busing mess in FishHawk Ranch, School Board chairwoman Cindy Stuart said, hardly.

She was especially irked to hear the allegation that the district builds schools without talking to anybody from the county.

In response, she offered this two-page description of the Development of Regional Impact and Interlocal Agreement processes that govern the communication between the two parties.

The systems involve meetings that take place once and sometimes twice a month, not to mention a work group that has been meeting since 2016, with members of the school district, city, state and county governments.

Stuart also said plans are under way to invite affected parents to community meetings, one in each of the district's eight geographic areas. The format will be strictly informational, so families can find out about carpooling, safe walking and biking routes, and other alternatives to school bus transportation.

One neighborhood in particular -- Litha's FishHawk Ranch, where 1,000 of the affected 7,500 middle and high school students live and attend school -- has mobilized to try and get the board to reverse its 6-1 vote to cut back on courtesy busing. At a specially called board meeting Tuesday, FishHawk's Josephine Amato asked the board, "how many children have to die?"

Superintendent Jeff Eakins pointed out that the move isn't just about saving money. "We also are looking at equity across our communities," he said. For details about which schools get courtesy buses and which ones don't, have a look at this list from last year.

A re-vote is highly unllikely, Stuart said Thursday. "We're moving forward, she said.

Stuart said a lot more about the transportation issue in this Q&A that we published in December.

 

[Last modified: Thursday, January 12, 2017 1:11pm]

    

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