Parents fight Hillsborough School District's plan to eliminate courtesy busing by signing petition

Plan would save district millions of dollars
Posted at 7:23 PM, Apr 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-18 02:39:01-04

Kids who go to Tomlin Middle School in Plant City may be forced to walk along a busy stretch of State Road 574, if the Hillsborough County School District follows through on its plan to eliminate courtesy busing for children living less than two miles from the school.

Records show in that stretch of SR 574 there have been 28 accidents since 2011, including three fatalities.

"It's dangerous... Just living right here we've seen like three crashes," says Isabella Minjares, who used to attend Tomlin Middle.

She took the 1.8 mile bus ride because walking along 574 can get you killed.

"They want us to stay in school but they want us to walk that far that's crazy," she says.

Hector Ruiz is a sixth grader who goes to Tomlin now. What does he think about walking along 574?

"That's a pretty long way for me," he says.

The decision to cut courtesy busing will reportedly save the school district millions. People living near 574 believe the school district's decision will cost lives.

"We're not talking about teens were talking about small kids," says Jason Gajadharsigh, owner of Extreme Audio. He is one of a hundreds who've signed a petition to urge Hillsborough County Schools to reconsider their plan.

"I want he kids to be picked up on the school bus i don't want kids walking on the side of the street," he says.

After hearing parents concerns, district officials say they're going to review the bus route along 574 and may consider keeping courtesy busing for Tomlin.

But thousands of other kids would be still be impacted at dozens of schools across the county, including Newsome High in Lithia, where kids would be walking along busy Fishhawk Boulevard.