Letters: Readers comment on Hillsborough news

Published Sept. 22, 2016

School enrollments vexing

School Board member's support of Tampa Bay Express is ironic

(The) article about Hillsborough's suburban school seat shortages and urban school seat surpluses exposes an irony. School Board Vice Chair Cindy Stuart, the district's only voice on Hillsborough's MPO board, fully supports Tampa Bay Express in spite of irreparable harm to urban Tampa and its schools. TBX actively promotes unsustainable suburban sprawl and the urban blight and flight that would exacerbate the district's enrollment imbalance.

Ms. Stuart justified her TBX support based on a provision that allows school buses to use the toll lanes. That's a head-scratcher given that the toll lanes have very limited entrance and exit points. How exactly will long-distance routes on the toll lanes fit the district's routine bus transportation logistics? Maybe Hillsborough's affluent exurbs will clamor to send their progeny on a very long bus ride to fill the less crowded inner-city public schools. Maybe.

The vast majority of public school employees and parents cannot afford $30 daily commutes on the toll lanes. They will be stuck in the dangerous general use lanes that will be narrowed just to accommodate toll lanes. The toll lane users are unlikely to be public school fodder, and will take unkindly to school buses slowing their privileged journey.

I hope that Ms. Stuart will rethink her TBX stance and its corrosive impact on Tampa schools and communities.

Andy Harris, Tampa