Parents worry about safety as courtesy bussing ends

- Hillsborough County school leaders held a transportation safety fair Wednesday night. It’s one of several to be held after the district announced it was ending courtesy bussing for students who live within two miles of a middle or high school.

At a meeting at Pierce Middle School, some parents said they're inside that 2-mile radius and wonder how their kids will get to school safely.

District officials said there are a lot of options available.

Dwight Waller's house is inside the 2-mile buffer zone around Alonzo High School. Beginning in August, his 16-year-old son won't be eligible for bus pickup. Waller believes the actual distance is closer to 2.6 miles, so he wants the district to re measure, saying his son's safety is riding on it.

"My wife and I, there's no way we can take him and pick him up," he said. "If he has to get up two hours early to go to school and leave, it could affect his grades, let alone his safety."

The district approved ending courtesy bussing for middle and high schoolers in December in an effort to save millions of dollars.

"We provide a lot of community partners for parents who may have students who live within two miles," said Transportation GM Jim Beekman. "We don't tell the parents their students have to walk."

He pointed out several resources available, but said the best resource has shown to be other students, through carpooling. Another meeting is planned for March 29 at Burnett Middle, from 5:30-7 p.m.

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