Sunday, May 20, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Bus plan demise is short-sighted

A Hernando School Board majority must look at children's safety as happenstance. Tuesday night, board members Cynthia Moore, John Sweeney and Dianne Bonfield killed a new transportation plan to add bus service for 1,300 elementary school children living more than a mile from their school, saying the proposal was unfair for excluding students at K-8 schools.

These claims of inequity would carry more weight if the district was exhausting additional resources on a privileged audience. It's not. The rejected plan did not add to the School District budget and would have been achieved by shifting school start times in the fall, allowing buses to make additional runs each day. It's not perfect, but it is a reasonable compromise to a more comprehensive, but exorbitant plan the board already had dismissed.

Under state law, districts are reimbursed only for the cost of transporting children living more than 2 miles from their schools. Prior to budget cuts in 2011, the district also provided courtesy service to any child's family that requested it. But offering bus service is routinely revisited because of the lack of sidewalks around the county and the memory of a 2008 tragedy in which a middle school student was struck and killed by a vehicle as she walked to school.

The majority's support for the status quo is hard to figure after the board spent four months and two workshops debating how to add busing for children now walking or being transported by parents.

The decision is counterproductive to the stated goal of trying to restore courtesy bus service. Such a plan is cost prohibitive at the moment because it would entail buying additional buses at a cost of $105,000 each and absorbing per-route expenses of $40,000 for labor and fuel.

The staff devised a partial, economics-driven remedy that would have been a good start. Instead, a Hernando School Board majority indicated it was not worth the inconvenience of earlier school times if it didn't benefit everybody. It is short-sighted and irresponsible. Keeping 1,300 young children safer on their way to and from school each day should never be construed as an inconvenience.

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Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

St. Petersburg’s 3-year-old recycling program has reached an undesirable tipping point, with operating costs exceeding the income from selling the recyclable materials. The shift is driven by falling commodity prices and new policies in China that cu...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Housing Secretary Ben Carson has a surefire way to reduce the waiting lists for public housing: Charge more to people who already live there. Hitting a family living in poverty with rent increases of $100 or more a month would force more people onto ...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

It’s a safe bet Florida will get caught up in the frenzy to legalize wagering on sports following the U.S. Supreme Court opinion this week that lifted a federal ban. Struggling horse and dog tracks would love a new line of business, and state l...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/16/18