By LISA MACNEIL,
Commissioners voted unanimously at the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) regular meeting to draft a letter to the Hernando County School District (HCSD) to instruct the school board to remedy the problem of vehicles waiting in line on right-of-ways when picking up students from school.
The problem exists at several schools, including Challenger K-8 and Powell Middle school, where parents and guardians line up on Northcliffe Boulevard and Powell Road, respectively. During afternoon pickup, cars block the right lane of westbound Northcliffe nearly to Deltona Boulevard. Commissioner Steve Champion, who has mentioned his observations of Powell Middle in the past brought the matter to the board.
We first reported on this matter during coverage of the December 18, 2019 Interlocal meeting. Bus statutes are made at the state level, and in 2013, the law was passed stating that students who lived within a 2-mile radius of their school would no longer qualify for “Courtesy Busing.” This resulted in more students being transported to school in private vehicles. The Florida Department of Education provides funding for school transportation.
“There’s got to be a way to fix this,” Champion said. Taking on a multi-faceted problem that could have roots in funding, bus driver shortages, and other factors, Champion also stated that blocking a right-of-way is a violation of law, as well as a safety issue.
The law dovetails with safety concerns to have stopped vehicles on a roadway whose speed limit is 45 MPH and over. Commissioner John Allocco asked if businesses were allowed to exceed their parking capacity, and subsequently overflow onto right-of-ways. “If it’s a safety issue for a business, it’s a safety issue for the schools. This situational ethics crap has to stop.”
In closing, Commissioner Beth Narverud said, “My oldest is 22. This was a problem 22 years ago, and it’s still a problem today.”