Thousands of Tampa Bay students in Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties head back to school Monday on buses, bikes and cars. Hillsborough students have one more day of summer fun before they head back to school on Tuesday.
If you're joining them on the road, you also can expect to see plenty of police out enforcing school zones.
In Hernando, officials are anticipating heavier than normal traffic since the school district eliminated transportation for students who live within two miles of a school due to budget cuts. The other districts also do not provide transportation for students who live within a 2-mile radius of a school.
Extra deputies, with marked and unmarked patrol vehicles, from the Hernando County Sheriff's Office will be focused on enforcing traffic laws in and around school zones. In addition, several school crossing guard positions have been added, according a release from the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.
According to the same media release, speeding fines in a school zone within Hernando County range from $154 to $1,104; failing to stop for a school bus while the red flashing lights are activated can result in a $269 fine. In Hillsborough, which also will have more deputies out patrolling school zones, fines for speeding in those areas range from $143.00 to $443.00, according to a press release.
In St. Petersburg, city officials, including Mayor Bill Foster and Police Chief Chuck Harmon will visit Seventy-Fourth Street Elementary School this morning to kick off the annual campaign urging motorists to slow down near school zones.
Banners and signs will be displayed at several Pinellas schools as well as on the back of police and fire vehicles.
Pinellas parents with questions or concerns about bus transportation can call the school district's call center, (727) 587-2020 between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.