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Bay District School new transportation policy could change some bus routes

Bay District Schools Board members approved a new transportation policy this week. This new...
Bay District Schools Board members approved a new transportation policy this week. This new policy will impact some students’ eligibility to ride the bus to school.(WJHG)
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 6:03 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Bay District Schools Board members approved a new transportation policy this week. This new policy will impact some students’ eligibility to ride the bus to school.

The new policy says students must live more than one and a half miles from the nearest bus stop or two miles from the school in order to be eligible for transportation. The exception to this policy is if a student lives in a hazardous walk zone.

A hazardous walk zone has to meet certain criteria. When walking parallel to the road, any walking condition to and from the school that there is not an area at least four feet wide next to the road, not including drainage ditches, sluiceways, swales, or channels. Also, whenever the road the students must walk is uncurbed and has a posted speed limit of 50 miles per hour or greater, the area for students to walk should be set off the road by at least three feet.

When walking perpendicular to the road, it’s considered hazardous if the student has to walk a road where the traffic volume is 360 vehicles per hour, per direction and if the crossing site is uncontrolled. It also applies if the total traffic volume on the road exceeds 4,000 vehicles per hour through an intersection or other crossing site controlled by a stop sign or other traffic control signal, unless crossing guards or other traffic enforcement officers are present.

Superintendent Bill Husfelt explains the new policy and the Florida statutes in full detail in a letter he sent out using the PeachJar app Thursday morning.

If you believe your child lives in a hazardous walk zone as defined by the state, Husfelt asks that you reach out to Transportation at 850-767-4485 to apply for an exemption to the new policy.

Bay District Schools is reporting the district is short 20 bus drivers. Husfelt says in his letter the district has tried to avoid ending courtesy routes but “current circumstances and a serious lack of drivers have made it necessary.”

The letter says updated bus routes are typically available three to five days before school begins. To find that information, click here.

Bay District Schools is having a hiring open house next week for school bus drivers. If you are interested in applying, you can stop by Transportation or call 850-767-4485.

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