Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Group begins review of Pinellas school bus stop safety

LARGO — Four weeks after a Pinellas Park High teen died racing to her bus stop on 66th Street, an advisory group met to figure out how to make stops like hers safer.

"We are here with an open mind, and we are ready to listen to your ideas," school superintendent Julie Janssen told the group of about 20 people, including parents, students and principals.

Jim Madden, deputy superintendent, then briefed the group during much of Thursday's hourlong meeting.

Stops on busy roads, called "arterial" stops, have been around since the 1980s, when the Pinellas County School District started some of its magnet programs, Madden said.

But the district significantly increased arterial stops in August to accommodate high school students who wanted to attend schools outside of their residential zones.

Staffers started reviewing the busing system after issues arose from the numbers of students taking advantage of the arterial stops.

In the 2008-09 school year, more than 3,000 students used them. As of fall 2009, more than 10,000 students used them, said associate superintendent Michael Bessette.

The death of 17-year-old Nora Huapilla "raised the urgency to look at certain things," Madden said after the meeting.

Principals from Pinellas Park High, Osceola High, Morgan Fitzgerald Middle and James B. Sanderlin Elementary volunteered to be part of the group.

Also tapped were district administrators, transportation workers, a school bus driver, a Pinellas County Council of PTAs vice president, a state Department of Transportation project manager, a Sheriff's Office lieutenant and a county traffic engineer. School Board member Peggy O'Shea will observe the meetings on behalf of the board.

Each received a folder of documents, including a sampling of arterial bus stops and summaries of studies on those stops conducted last fall and earlier this month.

The group will meet twice in February and present recommendations to Janssen on March 1.

Lauren Brooks, a junior at Osceola High, the district's only fundamental high school, is one of two teens on the task force. Students who don't live near a school "should still have an opportunity to go to that school," said Brooks, 17.

Rajiv Sahay, whose daughter is a first-grader at Sanderlin Elementary, said he's pleased with the busing situation for his daughter, Saumya, 6.

But he thinks there's room for improvement with the overall system. "Safety is definitely an issue," Sahay said.

Lorri Helfand can be reached at lorri@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4155.

Group begins review of Pinellas school bus stop safety 01/16/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 15, 2010 4:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. PolitiFact takes on big health care question: Does GOP bill cut Medicaid?

    National

    Politics and math don't always get along, and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway raised a common complaint about how people talk about the future of Medicaid spending under the Senate Republican health care bill.

    Alice Jacobs, 90, at Dogwood Village, a nonprofit county-owned nursing home in Orange, Va., on June 23. Medicaid, targeted by Republicans' health care bill, pays for most of the 1.4 million elderly people in nursing homes, some of whom do not know they are on it. (Khue Bui/The New York Times)
  2. Higher Social Security payouts help Florida post a big jump in personal income

    Personal Finance

    Personal income grew 1.3 percent in Florida in the first quarter of this year, a four-way tie among all states for second-fastest growth behind Idaho.

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

    Blogs

    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.
  4. 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]
  5. 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.