LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) – Parents are upset about some of the changes in the bus policy for Mowat Middle School.
Beginning next week, a number of Mowat students will no longer be eligible to ride on the school bus. District officials say the change is being dictated by state legislation and job market conditions.
This week parents received a letter from Bay District school’s transportation department. It informed them that on Tuesday any student living within the two-mile radius of Mowat will either have to walk or provide their own transportation to school.
District officials say the new pedestrian overpass and sidewalks leading to the school are built, making it safe for students to walk.
“Lawmakers decided that it was ok for children within a two-mile radius to walk, that includes kindergarteners, 1st, and 2nd grade,” Transportation Director of Bay District Schools Michael Carter said. “Now if you don’t think that is a good idea then you really need to take it up with your legislator, right, and that would be my advise.”
The District has been following this guideline at every school except Mowat, because of hazards posed by Highway 390 construction. But Carter said, “according to the state, hazardous walk areas do not apply to middle school students.”
Carter also blames the bus driver shortage that’s plagued counties statewide.
“I feel like maybe they need to incentivize hiring more bus drivers, maybe pay them a little bit more money,” concerned parent Mikael Holbrook said.
Holbrook has 3-children attending Mowat. He said he’s concerned they’ll have to walk across Highway 390 and 77.
“I think that maybe we as citizens should start a petition to take the power away from the state and give it back to the local municipalities to make the decision on what is considered a high-risk area or high-risk issues for children walking to school,” Holbrook said.
Carter is urging parents to walk the route to school with their children, explain safety, and point out potential dangers.
If you have any questions about the bus changes, call the District of Transportation at (850) 767-4489.