Hundreds of parents in Hillsborough County are and upset and concerned over the school district’s plan to cut bus service for middle and high school students that live within two miles of school.
The district claims cutting courtesy bus rides starting in the 2017-2018 school year could save millions of dollars.
But would you let your kids walk down a street with no sidewalks and no street lights?
Kids who live in Hawk Park and Fishhawk Trails subdivisions would have to walk two miles down Lithia Pinecrest Road alongside semi trucks, choosing between a narrow street lane or a sloped ditch as a path on their way to Newsome High School and Randall Middle School.
Parents protested the cuts with a "drive in" Tuesday morning. Instead of forcing their kids to walk, parents losing the bus service will drive their kids to class in an effort to clog up the roads to show the district it’s not a feasible option to have parents drive their kids either.
A lot of you aren't too tickled about this idea on Facebook either.
Amanda writes "It’s just an overall bad idea. No sidewalks and crazy dark. School board members think Fishhawk has the infrastructure to allow this."
Danielle adds, " I walked in high school but I had sidewalks, big difference! What happens if a child gets hit? What if they die?"
Sure it's only two miles-- but when you're choosing between a sloped ditch and this small lane to walk on, it's not easy, especially as semis whiz past.
Hillsborough County School Board Chair Cindy Stuart said the district will keep providing courtesy bus rides to students in areas where it'd be too dangerous for them to walk to school, but the Fishhawk area probably isn't one of them.
“They have all kinds of infrastructure,” she said. “There's lighting, there's trails, there's sidewalks, so there really is a way for students to get back and forth to school.”
The district is hoping to save millions of dollars, which would go directly to the schools, with this plan.
“We've got to get back to putting more money into schools, and this is one way for us to look at that,” Stuart said.
Parents in Fishhawk are encouraging school district members to come out and walk the two mile path to school in order to see the danger for themselves.
The district plans to get rid of courtesy rides for elementary schools in the 2018-2019 school year, but that will take an additional school board vote.