Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Education

Hernando offers busing flexibility for those living too close to school

BROOKSVILLE — Amy Plunkett lives 1.99 miles from Deltona Elementary School, where her 7-year-old will be a second-grader this year.

By the slightest of margins, it means her son is too close to school to ride a bus.

Or so she thought.

A change this school year will allow students who live within the 2-mile no-busing radius — or in other places where students can't get a bus to school — to use the closest existing stop, as long as there is room on the bus.

Plunkett signed right up and hopes to be approved.

"I was thrilled that (the district) at least give the opportunity," she said. "Before they implemented this, if you lived within the 2 miles, you were (out of luck). At least parents have a chance to get their children on a bus."

The change would keep her from having to change her work hours or make special arrangements for day care before and after school.

So far, the district has only gotten about 50 applications for the program, said district transportation director Douglas Compton.

"(We thought) this would be a great way to serve customers who are under 2 miles or not in zone," Compton said, noting that there is no additional cost to the district. "We're already running the bus."

The school district had stopped offering bus service inside the 2-mile radius last year to save money.

The new program is fairly straightforward.

Parents or guardians submit an application and, if there is room on the bus, students may use the closest existing stop.

Applications will be approved on Sept. 15 at the earliest.

The district says no new stops will be created. Also, if there are more requests for space than bus seats, preference will be given to students based first on the lowest grade level, then by youngest age and finally by the farthest distance from school.

The "space availability" policy might be especially helpful for parents whose children received busing last year but, for various reasons, will not this year.

At least 100 students who were bused to school last year won't have the service when school starts Monday after a review determined that they actually live within the 2-mile no-transportation zone.

A total of four areas mistakenly received busing last year, Compton said, noting that parents were notified of the mistake earlier this summer. The students were removed from busing lists, which he said was the fair thing to do.

The changes eliminate busing for Floyd K-8 students living in Pristine Place and Hibiscus Springs in Spring Hill, for Moton Elementary students living in Hillside Estates in Brooksville, and for Brooksville Elementary students living in Da-Mac Estates on the north side of Brooksville.

With the new year about to begin, few things have changed as much as the district's busing plan.

Two weeks ago, the district saved an estimated $888,000 by streamlining bus routes. The transportation department eliminated 24 routes, adding roughly 10 students to each remaining route.

There have been a number of behind-the-scenes changes, too.

For the first time, the district has gone to a computerized system to determine bus routes instead of relying on past routes. And the 2-mile boundaries were re-evaluated.

Superintendent Bryan Blavatt credited Compton, who joined the district in May, for the changes.

"He's done a great job," Blavatt said.

Danny Valentine can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432.

Comments

Pasco school district, employees reach contract agreement

The raises for Pasco County school district employees aren’t as high as anyone would like, but they’re now part of a signed tentative contract deal reached just before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.If ratified by the staff and the School Board, the agreements ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Hernando could be next stop for PACE Center for Girls

Hernando could be next stop for PACE Center for Girls

BROOKSVILLE — The new year could bring about new beginnings for at-risk girls in Hernando County.Pending a vote by the School Board next month, PACE Center for Girls, an alternative education program for middle- and high-school students, could open a...
Updated: 10 hours ago
For Bexley students in Land O’Lakes, math skills go airborne

For Bexley students in Land O’Lakes, math skills go airborne

LAND O’LAKES — At Bexley Elementary School in Land O’Lakes, students are throwing paper airplanes — with the help of a high tech computerized launcher. They’re also bowling — with a little aid from computerized drones. And when they get around to it,...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Proposal to rollback early learning programs could bring Citrus into Pasco-Hernando coalition

Some Florida lawmakers have not hidden their desire to scale back the statewide number of early learning coalitions that oversee child care and preschool programs, including Voluntary Prekindergarten.The state Office of Early Learning has now issued ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Pasco-Hernando State College faculty to consider unionizing

Pasco-Hernando State College faculty to consider unionizing

Caitlin Gille grew up in a union household in Wisconsin, where her mom was a long-time teacher in the small city of Wauwatosa, just west of Milwaukee.She was accustomed to seeing educators advocating for their working conditions and pay, having a sea...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is ‘Feminism’

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is ‘Feminism’

NEW YORK — This may or may not come as a surprise: Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is "feminism." Yes, it’s been a big year or two or 100 for the word. In 2017, lookups for feminism increased 70 percent over 2016 on Mer...
Published: 12/12/17
‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

‘It’s like an insane nightmare’: Parents question private company hired to drive special needs kids to school

RIVERVIEW — As a foster parent with two sons of her own, Kayla Storey has learned all the tricks to get her kids out of bed and off to school every morning. But this year, Storey says she’s the one waking up every school day with a knot i...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

University of Central Florida Greeks won’t hold social events, serve alcohol for 6 weeks this spring

ORLANDO — University of Central Florida fraternities and sororities won’t host social activities or any events with drinking for at least the first six weeks of the spring semester, up from the two-week ban on alcohol that has been in place in the pa...
Published: 12/08/17

Pasco class notes for Dec. 15

School Calendar• Dec. 22: End of second grading quarter.• Dec. 23-Jan. 7: Winter Break.• Jan. 8: Teacher planning day. No school for students.Arts/Music/TheaterCenter for the Arts at River Ridge Middle High, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey. (...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Disturbed by stories about the rape of teens by supervisory staff, a pandemic of sometimes savage force, brutal beatdowns ordered by youth care workers and policies that permit the hiring of violent offenders, Miami-Dade’s state attorney wants to kno...
Published: 12/07/17