TAMPA, Fla. - With hundreds of thousands of students, many of whom ride the bus, Hillsborough County is the 8th largest school district in the country. And with the school year starting around the same time as the Republican National Convention, this school year will be like none other.
"We expect the Selmon Expressway to be a challenge. We definitely expect traffic snarls in and around the Forum,” said Hillsborough County Schools Transportation Director John Franklin.
The major tie-ups with school bus routes will likely come in and around Davis and Harbour Islands where bus stops are plentiful.
"We expect that residual traffic down in South Tampa will be mired. We also expect that there will be unexpected closures," said Franklin.
Those closures will mean detours and likely delays for schools like Plant High School. All school buses will hit the road in late August for a county-wide practice. Some will carry uniformed school security officers on-board who will also ride during the Convention's four-days. More security will be waiting for kids and staff as they head to class.
The school district says there will be extra security for schools that are closest to the security perimeter, including Wilson Middle and Gorrie Elementary.
There's also the task of relocating 500 school district employees who work downtown. District headquarters will close its doors for a week.
"I and my staff and many of the Superintendent’s staff are going to be moving to a building that we have over there on 40th Street. It's a fairly large building where we have a lot of training,” said Hillsborough County spokesperson Steve Hegarty.
The main challenge though will be getting kids to school on-time, which is why the district is also hiring extra bus drivers. You can call 813-982-5521 for more information about jobs.
"We're drawing up fall back plans that if somebody can't get to a school then we're trying our best to have a secondary fall back resource ready to go in and pick those kids up," said Franklin.
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