Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough parents tell of busing troubles

TAMPA — Parents' frustrations about dangerously crowded buses and transportation problems dominated superintendent MaryEllen Elia's town hall meeting Tuesday night.

Only a handful of parents attended the gathering at Hillsborough High, the first of seven planned around the county this month. The four women who raised busing complaints got the full attention of district leaders.

"We have a big issue with bus size, kids falling out of their seats, sitting on the floor," said Susan Edgerley, whose daughter once had to sit on the floor on a bus traveling between the Westchase area and the Robinson High International Baccalaureate program in South Tampa.

Other Robinson families from northwest Hillsborough find it is taking the buses two hours to bring children home, said Diane Fenimore, a parent liaison to the IB magnet. "There are parents who are pulling their kids out of the program," she said.

Elia apologized for the communication troubles about bus route changes this year. Some parents began the year not knowing their children's bus stops.

Elia has increased staffing at the call center where phone lines had been jammed, and said the wait is minutes now. She believes her office is hearing from about 1 percent of the students the district transports. Still, Tuesday's 1,550 calls marked a jump over the end of last week.

Florence Wright, a school employee at Oak Park Elementary, asked why kids were being crammed four across in bus seats. "They are in the seats like sardines," she said. "It's unsafe."

Top district officers pledged to investigate. Elia noted some bus crowding happens at the beginning of every school year, while routes are being balanced.

She cheered the woman who introduced herself as the parent of a success story for the Hills­borough public schools. But Cindy Franks had a busing problem, too. The district isn't letting a bus drop her daughter at a city after-school program in a park. And walking from the bus stop takes the middle school student down busy dangerous roads.

"She would have a half-mile to go by herself, with a trombone and her books," Franks said. "And there's a sexual predator on the road."

Hillsborough parents tell of busing troubles 09/02/08 [Last modified: Saturday, September 6, 2008 2:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Report slams Pinellas construction licensing agency

    Local Government

    LARGO –– The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board mismanaged its finances, lacked accountability and violated its own rules, according to a scathing report released Wednesday by the county's inspector general.

    Rodney Fischer, the executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board, resigned in January.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. Tampa driver dies after swerving off Interstate 4 into canal


    PLANT CITY — A Tampa driver swerved off Interstate 4 Wednesday morning, plunging into a canal in a fatal crash, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report.

  3. Editorial: Scott should keep demanding better for seniors in nursing homes


    The horrific story of elderly Floridians dying from the heat in a Broward County nursing home after surviving Hurricane Irma grows more outrageous. Even as a ninth death has been reported, the nursing home blames the state and has filed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Rick Scott's move to prevent it from accepting new …

    Even as a ninth death has been reported, the nursing home blames the state and has filed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Rick Scott’s move to prevent it from accepting new patients or Medicaid payments.
  4. DCF announces $133 million in federal aid for low-income families who lost food during Irma


    An additional $133 million is being distributed to Florida low-income families to help replace food destroyed by Hurricane Irma, the Florida Department of Children and Families announced today.

    The United States Department of Agriculture has made $133 million available to Florida low-income families to help them replace food damaged during Hurricane Irma
  5. A meatless burger that tastes like meat? Ciccio Restaurants will serve the Impossible Burger.

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — The most red-hot hamburger in the nation right now contains no meat.

    Luis Flores, executive chef at Ciccio Restaurant Group, prepares an Impossible Burger at Epicurean Hotel's Food Theatre. Impossible Burger is a plant-based burger that will launch on Sept. 27, 2017 in all the Ciccio Restaurant Group locations, except for Fresh Kitchen. "This burger caters to the carnivorous, not just the vegetarians" said Jeff Gigante, co-founder at Ciccio Restaurant Group. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times