Barnette Pleads to School District for Safety of Kids Crossing Highway
City Commissioner Ron Barnette sends an email plea to Pinellas County Schools to reconsider a plan that forces some Dunedin children to walk across a five-lane state highway to get to San Jose Elementary next year.
City Commissioner Ron Barnette spoke passionately against a Pinellas County School Board plan to end busing for about 50 elementary students in Dunedin.
The plan would force children to either find alternate transportation to school or to walk across State Road 580.
He recently reinforced his position in an email plea to the School Board. Barnette's email exchange with Debbie Beaty, administrative assistant to the board, follows:
Sent: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 7:23 PM
To: +Board Office
Subject: A Dunedin Commissioner's Plea for Child Safety
Dear Board members,
I am Ron Barnette, a Dunedin City Commissioner, who is writing to PLEASE address responsibly our City Resolution sent to you regarding the continued safe bus passage for some 50 elementary students who attend San Jose Elementary here in Dunedin. No doubt you have heard about this, and have read the many media reports in the Dunedin Patch and the Tampa Bay Times. The matter has become an unfortunate one, as these young children now face the decision, apparently made without data from our City, to either find their own way some 2 miles to school or walk to school across a horrific multi-lane State Road 580, which, believe me, is totally unsafe for crossing for a 2-mile walk for elementary school kids! I can personally attest to this, as I have watched the busy traffic firsthand, and after learned that FDOT wouldn’t even allow our proposed golf cart crossing to be approved in light of traffic safety.
The County’s expressed goal is to insure student safety, and I implore you to address this end as you review this matter, analyze the specifics, and read the requests and claims you will be receiving from others in the know. I have no doubt that you will agree that these elementary students’ safety is paramount and that you should continue the bus route for their well-being. Keep in mind that no changes in the bus route were at stake, nor changes in the students’ residences … just a County re-calculation of where on the school property to pick up and deliver the children, which apparently made the difference to reject the bus and to make the kids walk 2 miles or so across a multi-lane State Highway!
Thank you so much as you review this heartfelt request as we all do the right thing for our children at risk.
Dunedin City Commissioner
From: Beaty Debbie [mailto:BEATYD@pcsb.org]
Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 10:19 AM
Cc: Grego Michael; Dart Laurie; Clark Janet; Cook Carol; Flowers Rene; Koperski David; Krassner Terry; Lerner Linda; O'Shea Peggy; Wikle Robin
Subject: RE: A Dunedin Commissioner's Plea for Child Safety
Good morning, Commissioner Barnette,
Your e-mail expressing your concern with the removal of bus transportation and the suggested walk path for some students attending San Jose Elementary is being shared with the School Board Members and with our Superintendent, Dr. Grego. Thank you for taking your time to share your input regarding this matter.
Deborah E. Beaty
Adm. Assistant to the Board
Get more local stories delivered right to your inbox or smartphone every day with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.
- Dunedin Leaders: Pinellas Schools Disregards Safety, Communication
- Dunedin Leaders to Challenge Pinellas Schools on Safety
- Commissioners' Candid School Bus Comments Caught on Camera
- City 'Fights' for Elementary Students Crossing State Road 580
- Students' Walk to San Jose Elementary Could Cross Five-Lane Highway