Hillsborough County courtesy school busing forces alternate travel options

As Thursday marks the first day of the school year for most of Tampa Bay, more than 7,000 Hillsborough County students will be forced to find an alternate way to school.

After much debate, the school board voted to end courtesy busing last December.  The decision means kids living within two miles of their school will have to come up with their own transportation.

The school board hired a consultant to find ways to trim their budget. Since courtesy busing doesn’t have state designated funding, they voted 6-1 to give it the ax.

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Schools within the county have stepped up to widen other commute options for students. At Randall Middle School in Lithia, $15,000 has been spent to widen sidewalks around the building to allow more space for students who are walking and biking. The school has also added additional bike racks.

On Wednesday, Hillsborough County school buses made their annual test run. No difficulties were reported. Thursday is also the first day of school for Pinellas, Polk, Citrus, Manatee and Highlands counties.