The Hillsborough County School District is joining the call for an overhaul of Florida’s Hazardous Walking Conditions law which has not seen a substantive improvement in nearly half a century. Citing the fact that the current criteria forces school districts to redirect funds from classrooms in order to provide additional school bus routes for students, the district wants the law to safeguard students who are left to contend with hazardous walking conditions. The school district says that simply changing the eligibility distance from 2 miles to 1.5 miles, as has been proposed in the state legislature in the past, does not provide that protection.
Its four-step proposal includes consideration of a requirement for local governments to install sidewalks near schools and for the hazardous walking conditions criteria to apply to students in all grades from kindergarten through grade 12. The current law provides for funded transportation service for elementary school students through grade 6 only. The current criteria has been criticized as woefully inadequate by Safe Student Florida which is proposing specific improvements to the criteria which would apply to all students through grade 12.
Hillsborough County Council PTA/PTSA was quick to applaud the Hillsborough district’s proposal.