Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

Thurgood Marshall, Osceola fundamental parents asked about busing

UPDATE at 7:23 p.m.: A majority of the school board seemed okay with a compromise on this issue that Superintendent Julie Janssen floated at today's board meeting. I included that information below.

The Pinellas County School District emailed a survey Friday to parents at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School and Osceola Fundamental High School, asking them about busing.

The school board is considering cutting busing for those two schools, but some board members worry that would prevent some low-income students from attending them. According to the district, 796 Osceola students and 442 Thurgood Marshall students ride buses this year. The district estimates it would save $1.9 million if it cut busing to those two schools, along with busing to the new fundamental schools-within-a -school at Boca Ciega and Dunedin high schools.

Update: A majority of the board seemed okay with a compromise offered by Janssen today: essentially, keep the busing but, for Thurgood, go to a different start time.

Janssen initially proposed eliminating busing to those schools, for a savings of about $1.8 million. But some board members worried about the impact on low-income students, and a district survey of parents that went out over the weekend indicated, according to Janssen, that the move would create a hardship for many.

Janssen said the district could keep busing at both schools if it changed Thurgood's current start time of 7:20 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., the start time recommended for other district middle schools next year.

Because of schedule changes at the four high schools under state oversight (Gibbs, Lakewood, Dixie and Boca Ciega), the district was expecting to increase bus service and cost next year, said assistant superintendent Michael Bessette. But changing Thurgood's schedule allows it to recoup some of the loss.

"There has to be give and take," Janssen said.

She also said the district will consider ending busing at those two schools for the 2012-13 school year.

Posted by ronmatus at 8:34:08 am on May 16, 2011