Some San Jose Elementary students may have to cross five lanes of traffic to get to school next year.
And Dunedin city officials are none too pleased.
The Pinellas County School Board recently issued a letter to the parents of 53 children affected by a miscalculation of the school system's 2-mile radius rule.
"Only those students residing more than 2 miles from their zoned school are eligible for transportation," writes Mike Burke, route and safety auditor for the Pinellas County School Board's Transportation Department.
Software used to calculate the walk zone radius from the school access points did not pick up on the pedestrian entrance at San Salvador and San Helen Drive, the letter states.
The school system said it would continue busing the students through the end of the 2012-2013 year, but starting next school year, the 53 students living in the area north of Beltrees Street and west of Patricia Avenue will have to find other ways to get to school — to include walking across the intersection where Main Street, State Road 580 and Skinner Boulevard converge.
Dunedin city officials are discussing the possibility of hiring three crossing guards and adding a cross walk to the intersection at Thursday's regular commission meeting at City Hall.
"Staff does not support the decision of the PCSB," a memo from City Manager Rob DiSpirito says. "It will be challenging, even with adult crossing guards, to safely shepherd elementary school children across a multi-lane divided state roadway (even at a signalized intersection). A PCSB transportation model which ignores the inherent dangers of elementary school children crossing SR 580 is flawed."
Three crossing guards would cost taxpayers $24,600 a year. The school system neither supplies nor subsidizes crossing guards. The city would also have to work in conjunction with the Florida Department of Transportation to add a crosswalk with curb ramps, which could cost $10,000, the city memo states.
"Though not of primary concern, it must be recognized that the PCSB's decision transfers costs to Dunedin that are neither available nor budgeted," the city memo points out.
Editor's Note: As of Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, at 1:26 p.m. this story reflects updated figures from the City of Dunedin.