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Martin County parents voice concerns over bus stop changes to school board

Posted at 8:42 PM, Mar 21, 2017
and last updated 2019-03-27 17:21:18-04

As a parent to four kids, Frank Davila already has his hands full. 

He says the plan to eliminate dozens of bus stops in Martin County makes his job that much harder. 

“I work everyday, 7 o'clock in the morning. My wife works 4 o'clock in the morning. And it's hard for us,” Davila says.

News Channel 5 first told you about the change last week
 
Nearly 3,000 families who live within 2 miles of their school received letters warning them their child's bus stop may be eliminated this upcoming school year. 
 
“It’s two miles from here, but it's pretty far,” Davila says. “The cars - they're driving so fast and I don't want to leave my kids walking to school.”
 
District Superintendent Laurie Gaylord said the change is prompted by recent state policy that changed the qualifying factors for hazardous walking conditions within 2 miles of a school.
 
98 bus stops didn't meet the criteria. 
 
“We do not receive state funding for children who are bussed under the two mile radius from school,” Gaylord says. 
 
Gaylord says it's not too late to weigh in, both at the meeting Tuesday night, and in surveys sent out to affected families.
 
“Give us your comments, provide us that feedback, because if there are certain conditions out there that parents are concerned about their children walking to school or biking to school, we want to know about them.” 
 
Davila says he will make sure his voice is heard.
 
“It’s going to be tough for us,” he says. “So we have to find the solution for this.” 

For mother Evelyn Money, it's personal. Her son, Aaron, was hit by a car riding his bike to school in April 2016.

Money said he usually took the bus, but that day, changed his routine. 

"Unfortunately, there was not a crossing guard, but there was a cross walk," Money said. That's where she said the red Audi hit her son. The driver left the scene.

With their bus stop threatened, Money is urging the school district to keep her son safe.

"There's no price on the safety of a human," Money said.

Board Chairwoman, Tina McSoley, said at Tuesday's meeting that this issue is personal for her, too. "What most people don't know about me is that my brother was hit by a car when he was 6-years-old, in a residential neighborhood, and was in the hospital for 6-months. He almost did not make it," McSoley said.

Board members took notes Tuesday of any other safety concerns expressed by dozens of parents. They ranged from concerns of poor lighting, no sidewalks, and heavy, speeding traffic.

All of those factors will be taken into consideration as locations to keep a bus stop.

If you're one of the people who received the survey, you have until March 30 to turn it in. 

The bus stop changes would go into effect next school year. 

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