Bay School Bus Privatization Protests Continue

By: Bryan Anderson Email
By: Bryan Anderson Email

Panama City- A small group of protestors hit the streets Tuesday morning to rally against privatizing school buses. Meanwhile that afternoon, some concerned residents voiced their opinions to the Bay District School Board.

"I do not know these people, my kids don't know them. How is a parent supposed to respect these people if they do not know them?," asked one resident.

The comment continued, even though bus privatization was not on the school board's meeting agenda.

"God forbid a bad hurricane and we need drivers and those buses, then the county doesn't have them available to help," said another resident.

School board members are researching privatization of a number of services including school buses in the face of eight to ten million dollars in budget cuts.

"We're having to make some very tough decisions, nobody wants to do these things," said Bay District School Superintendent Bill Husfelt.

Opposition has been building since the board first introduced the idea, but Husfelt said much of their concerns are based on misinformation.

"It's just bologna," said Husfelt.

There were reports board members planned to vote on privatization Tuesday, but that was not the case. In fact, they said they were no where near that point.

"Don't get any gray hair right now, maybe later. No matter what the rhetoric is out there, check with us, ask," said School Board Member Ginger Littleton.

Husfelt told News Channel 7 after the board meeting that if they approve privatization down the road, it still doesn't fix everything. He said teachers' jobs are also on the line next year.

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