It's National School Bus Safety Week But Some Parents Say Their Kid Aren't Safe
But high gas prices have led to fewer bus stops this year in Alachua County --and in many around the state and country. But there are parents who say their children's safety is being compromised to save budgets.
Jerry Gramig and a half dozen parents say 39th Avenue and 75th Street is no place for their elementary-aged children to wait for the school bus. He says he understands the budget contraints the Dept. of Transportation is facing but he says he can't put a price on his children's safety.
According Gramig, "Small amount of savings and fuel costs cannot benefit ultimately if we lose some kids and some parents."
Until this year school buses picked up students in front of their homes. But buses no longer make stops in neighborhoods but rather students wait at one stop. Manager of Operations from the Dept of Transportation says it's an accommodation that fiscally just can't be made. Parents, he says, need to wait with their children, it's their responsibility.
"Well it saves money but if we go in one neighborhood you have to go in all of them,"says David Deas, Operations Manager.
Another concerned parent says he understands the transportation department's predicament, "we're willing to compromise with that i just want them to move the bus stop further back in the neighborhood."
Daes says every bus stop was inspected before the first day of school, and even exceeds state safety standards.
Now these parents want an on-site inspection for further evaluation.
The Dept. of Transportation says it takes roughly two days to make it to a bus stop for an on-site inspection. These parents hope that it will happen by the end of the week.
The Alachua County Sheriff's Office says a 2000-study found that there was an average of 180 incidents per day in Alachua County where vehicles pass stopped school buses so please be aware.
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