2. Discussion on student transportation involving walk distances, hazardous walking condition policy and school bus stops
Attachment: Transportation Workshop.ppt
Attachment: Handout-HazWalking Report
Attachment: HickoryGlen Petitions.pdf
Attachment: Handouts-Mr. Bolla.pdf
Denise Adams, Deputy Superintendent, explained the purpose of this workshop, which was to provide the School Board with information about walk zones and hazardous walking conditions. Mike Elliott, Assistant Superintendent for Support Services, reviewed in detail the Board's policy as it relates to and defines hazardous walking conditions (found in SB Policy 6.85). The Board's current policy is more conservative than the state policy which only allows funding for students who live in excess of 2 miles from their assigned school, while Clay County's policy extends bus service to students in excess of 1.5 miles. The feasibility of increasing bus services for students living under 1.5 miles was discussed. Changing the policy to yet a more conservative nature would yield huge transportation impacts across the county. The total initial start-up costs would be approximately $4.8 million for buses, drivers and other related costs. Staff recommends no expansion of the current policies. The costs are prohibitive to the general education of all students.
Mr. Bolla presented for the record a petition containing 83 names appealing for bus transportation for children living in Hickory Glen 1 and Hickory Glen 2 subdivisions. Mr. Bolla also presented a concept being used in Brevard County whereby elementary students residing within two miles of their school may be provided bus transportation at the discretion of the principal and upon payment of a fee established by the Board. Board Attorney Bruce Bickner and several Board Members expressed concern about the legality and possible ramifications of this proposal. Mr. Bickner will research the Brevard County policy and bring information back to the Board at their next meeting. Consensus was to not pursue this issue any further at this time, pending the forthcoming information and a legal opinion from Mr. Bickner.
Superintendent Owens reminded the Board of the uncertainty of state revenue this year. If the budget reductions are as severe as a 4% cut, the school district will suffer greatly. He stressed the need to be mindful of this when considering the additional costs Mr. Bolla's proposal would require.