Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando School Board asks for more busing options

The Hernando County School District is weighing options for students’ school bus transportation.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

The Hernando County School District is weighing options for students’ school bus transportation.

BROOKSVILLE — Doug Compton made it through only a couple of his proposed busing options at Tuesday afternoon's Hernando County School Board workshop before board members hit the brakes.

The choices weren't exactly what they had in mind.

Board members directed Compton, the district's transportation director, back to the drawing board and told him to return with a new proposal that would restore busing for some students living within a 2-mile radius of their schools — but not all of them. Four proposals brought to the board Tuesday would restore busing for all students living within 2 miles, except two of those proposals would not bring back busing for magnet schools. One of the most frequent complaints to School Board members in recent years has been the lack of busing within 2 miles.

Two other proposals would not have restored busing for any of the students within 2 miles.

School Board member Matt Foreman took issue with the plans that restored busing for all students, regardless of distance. "If you can see the school, you can still get a bus," he said. "That sounds foolish, doesn't it?" Foreman said he didn't believe transporting students who live that close to a school would be the "best use of our money or the kids' time." He also said he doubted the district could come up with enough money to bus all students. His suggestion: a partial return of busing.

"I think there's probably a hybrid that probably makes the best sense," he said.

Board members generally indicated it was most important to them to restore busing for elementary students. "I think that priority No. 1 is our elementary kids," said board Chairman Gus Guadagnino. "They're in the rain; they're walking on roads that don't have sidewalks."

Once the district has looked at transportation for those students, he said, others could be considered.

"If we find more money, let's move to the next notch," Guadagnino said.

The board asked Compton and the transportation staff to bring back a proposal that would restore busing for elementary and K-8 students living at least a half-mile from their schools and for middle and high school students living at least 1 mile away.

The board will likely address these issues in a special session next month because a decision must be made soon if it's to be implemented for the 2014-15 school year.

Compton didn't have specifics on what the plan might cost.

"I'm going to see how creative with bell times I can get," he said, referring to the time the school day begins and ends. "There may be more changes in bell times."

Since courtesy busing ended three years ago in an effort to save money, few issues have sparked more outrage. Many have come before the School Board to express concerns about the long distances young children are forced to walk, the lack of shelter from inclement weather and even the excessive weight of backpacks. They have voiced their fears about the shortage of sidewalks in the county, dangerous traffic and lurking sexual predators.

The six plans brought forward on Tuesday varied widely in impact — and cost. The annual costs ranged from a savings of $600,000 to a price tag of $2.35 million. Four of the plans came with changes to school bell times.

At a December board meeting, Compton presented other busing options, but they would have restored courtesy busing only for certain groups. He said the board directed him to return with options that would bring busing back for all students.

Danny Valentine can be reached at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

Hernando School Board asks for more busing options 02/18/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 7:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. James Wilder Jr. back at running back...in Canada

    Blogs

    Remember when former Plant High star and Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. announced he was switching to linebacker?

    That was short-lived, apparently.

  2. Unlicensed contractor accused of faking death triggers policy change at Pinellas construction licensing board

    Local Government

    The unlicensed contractor accused of faking his death to avoid angry homeowners has triggered an immediate change in policy at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  3. What you need to know for Tuesday, June 27

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Former St. Petersburg mayor and current mayoral candidate Rick Baker, left, and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman square off tonight in a debate. [Times]
  4. Once 'angry' about Obamacare, Republican David Jolly came to see it as 'safety net'

    Blogs

    Former Congressman David Jolly, who ran against Obamacare in 2013, said in an interview Monday night that he now considers it a "safety net."

  5. Five children hospitalized after chlorine release at Tampa pool store

    Accidents

    Five children were sickened at a pool store north of Tampa on Monday after a cloud of chlorine was released, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.