Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando County students whose bus service was cut get reprieve

BROOKSVILLE — Concerns about students negotiating some of the most dangerous roads in the county have prompted Hernando school officials to make some exceptions to the decision to cut courtesy bus service.

The School Board voted earlier this summer to stop busing students who live within 2 miles of school, saving about $800,000. In three cases, though, the district will provide bus stops for elementary students who live inside that 2-mile radius.

The willingness to bend a little arose from worries conveyed by principals and parents about the lack of sidewalks and the dangers of multi-lane highways, transportation director Linda Smith said.

"We know that the board is concerned about student safety and these are some of things we're doing to put their minds at ease," Smith said.

Here are the locations of the bus stops:

• Nantucket Cove Apartments in Spring Hill. Roughly 30 students from Westside Elementary live in the complex west of U.S. 19, about a mile south of Applegate Drive. The intersection at U.S. 19 and Applegate was slated to get a crossing guard, but the lack of sidewalks in some sections along the highway is the concern, Smith said.

• Spring Ridge subdivision in Brooksville. The neighborhood south of Pine Grove Elementary, West Hernando Middle and Central High schools will get a bus stop for the Pine Grove students, but only for the duration of the project to widen Sunshine Grove Road and add sidewalks, Smith said.

• Two stops for Moton Elementary students who live in south Brooksville, one at Dr. M.L. King Jr. Boulevard and Main Street, the other at Jasmine Drive and State Road 50. The problem here, Smith said, is not just the lack of sidewalks along the two-lane divided highway, but also the guardrail and a ditch along a roughly quarter-mile stretch of Emerson Road that leave students no place to walk.

The district already had an exemption process in place that would allow families whose neighborhoods are affected by construction or divided, two-lane highways to board the closest bus beyond the 2-mile radius.

That's not always practical, though. In the case of Spring Ridge, for example, the closest bus stops outside of the 2-mile radius are farther away than the schools themselves.

None of the new stops require the district to add routes, Smith said. Buses will drop off students at Westside and Pine Grove and make quick trips back to Spring Ridge and Nantucket Cove. The Brooksville stops will be added to routes.

Parents in Spring Ridge have asked why the district decided to bus the elementary children in the neighborhood but not the middle and high school students.

"We feel like they can be a bit more responsible getting to school," Smith said of the older students. "At this point, we're taking care of the little ones."

There is a chance the district could get reimbursed for providing the exceptions. The state is required to compensate districts for bus service within 2 miles in dangerous areas. The criteria are specific and limited, though, Smith said.

Board Chairman James Yant said he was glad to hear the district is being flexible to address some of the most dangerous situations.

"The downside to it is, when you make exceptions, which (other) exceptions are you going to make?" said Yant, who voted to cut the bus service but has expressed regret in recent weeks. "There are problems everywhere on this, and that's my concern."

Smith acknowledged news of the exceptions may cause an outcry from residents in other neighborhoods who feel they warrant exceptions, too.

"What we're looking at, so the other parents don't get real excited, is those areas where students have to cross multi-lane state highways, and Northcliffe Boulevard and Mariner Boulevard aren't multi-lane state highways," Smith said.

The process is still one in progress, though, Smith said. Her department didn't have much time to plan after the board vote, so officials will continue to assess safety concerns case-by-case.

"We're trying to do six to eight months worth of work in six to eight weeks," she said.

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or tmarrero@sptimes.com.

Hernando County students whose bus service was cut get reprieve 08/19/11 [Last modified: Friday, August 19, 2011 8:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. The Penny Hoarder tops 79 fastest growing Tampa Bay companies on Inc. 5000

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Penny Hoarder today further cemented its reputation as one of the country's fastest growing companies. The personal finance web site business ranks 25th nationwide and tops in the Tampa Bay market for growth on the just released 2017 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing businesses.

    One of the fastest growing startups in the country is St. Petersburg's The Penny Hoarder, a financial advice web site aimed at helping readers save money. Playing a game in the office is (right to left) founder and CEO Kyle Taylor, vice president of business operations Vishal Mahtani and executive editor Alexis Grant. [Courtesy of The Penny Hoarder]
  2. Here's what it's like inside a writhing, growling Howl-O-Scream audition

    Florida

    TAMPA — At Busch Gardens, a Howl-O-Scream manager is hunting zombies.

    Auditioner Natalie Rychel, 20, of Tampa, Fla., high fives director of atmosphere Morgan Malice after being selected for a job for Bush Gardens' Howl-O-Scream during an audition at the theme park on Friday, August 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (From left) Auditioners Jared Shipley, 20, of Lakeland, Fla., and Lincoln Scott, 41, of Riverview, Fla., look over. This year, Howl-O-Scream will take place from September 22 to October 29 at Bush Gardens. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
  3. Tampa Bay homeowners sue JPMorgan Chase for billing on already-paid mortgages

    Banking

    ST. PETERSBURG — Two Tampa Bay homeowners are suing JPMorgan Chase Bank for attempting to continue to collect on what they say were already-paid-off mortgages.

    JPMorgan Chase is the subject of a lawsuit by two Tampa Bay homeowners who say the bank attempted to collect on mortgages they already paid off. | [Getty Images]
  4. ‘Please don't let her be dead': Man struck by car recounts Charlottesville protest (w/video)

    Nation

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — With tires screeching and bodies flying, Marcus Martin shoved his fiancee out of the way of a car charging through a crowd of peaceful protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    People fly into the air as a vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. The nationalists were holding the rally to protest plans by the city of Charlottesville to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. [Ryan M. Kelly | The Daily Progress via AP]
  5. Taco Bell wants you to put 'Pop Rocks' on your burrito

    General

    Have you ever taken the first bite of your burrito and felt like the heat from the hot sauce wasn't enough?

    Taco Bell is trying out its Firecracker Burrito in three California locations. (Taco Bell)