Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando School Board looks at ways to bring back courtesy busing

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School Board on Tuesday took its first look at changing a controversial policy that eliminates busing for students living within 2 miles of their schools.

It's the first time the board has considered alternatives to the policy since it was approved in June 2011 as a cost-saving measure.

District staffers presented two plans that would reduce the district's 2-mile no-busing zone to 1 mile for certain age groups beginning with the 2014-15 school year.

The first option would provide busing for all elementary school students living more than a mile away from school by changing the start and end times at most of the district's 23 schools — in some cases by as much as an hour and 45 minutes.

The second option would enable busing for elementary and K-8 students living more than a mile from school by changing these times and by eliminating busing to magnet schools.

Changing start and end times would allow the district to use its equipment and resources more efficiently, saving about $250,000, said transportation director Doug Compton.

The elimination of busing to the district's three magnet schools would save an estimated $600,000, he said.

Neither option received a ringing endorsement from the board.

In this first scenario, the district would bus an additional 1,309 elementary school students. The district has 2,160 elementary school students living within 2 miles of school.

The second option involves the same changes to bell times, but also eliminates busing for students in the magnet programs at the district's three magnet schools.

That proposal would add busing for an additional 762 K-8 students living more than 1 mile away from school.

The board didn't take action on either proposal.

Many indicated they would like more information, including the cost of bringing back busing for all students. Vice chairwoman Dianne Bonfield, noting that she has never supported the end of courtesy busing, said she would like to bring back busing for all students. She said the district should look hard for the money.

"What better way to spend it than on the safety and the security of our kids?" she asked.

A number of parents and politicians spoke in favor of returning busing for the students, stressing that kids' lives could not be put in jeopardy for the sake of money.

Board member Matt Foreman said that the conversation had to take money into account.

"We have to pay for it," he said. "We have a finite amount of money."

Compton, while he didn't have the exact numbers available, said bringing back busing for all those living within 2 miles of school would cost between $1.2 million and $1.4 million. The district would also need to purchase additional buses, which run about $100,000 apiece.

Compton was directed to produce more busing options to be discussed at a future workshop.

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

Hernando School Board looks at ways to bring back courtesy busing 12/10/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 11:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gov. Scott in Washington as health care debate intensifies


    Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday began a daylong series of meetings in Washington on health care, saying he wants to ensure Florida gets its share of Medicaid funding while praising parts of the Senate GOP’s Obamacare replacement.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks at Creative Sign Designs in Tampa on June 13.
  2. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and estranged wife Carole put Beach Drive condo on the market

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo on the market for $1.5 million.

    U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo in Parkshore Plaza on the market for $1.5 million. {Courtesy of Amy Lamb/Native House Photography]
  3. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The mayor's race has been making headlines for nearly two months as Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker have been making speeches, pressing the flesh at fundraisers and gathering their ground forces for an election battle that has already broken fundraising records.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.
  4. Tampa moves to pause permits for 5G wireless equipment to assess impact of new Florida law


    To business groups, the bill that Gov. Rick Scott signed Friday will clear the way for superfast 5G wireless communications and give Florida an edge in attracting high-tech companies.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and other local officials have worried that a new state law aimed at facilitating the installation of 5G wireless technology could clutter scenic corridors like Tampa's Riverwalk.
  5. Trump takes another swipe at CNN after resignations over retracted Russia story


    NEW YORK — President Donald Trump used the resignations of three CNN journalists involved in a retracted Russia-related story to resume his attack on the network's credibility Tuesday.

    Anthony Scaramucci, a senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, talks to reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. [Associated Press]