It has come to my attention that there seems to be more children allowed to ride the bus morning and afternoon than should be allowed. Children with waivers are not to ride – their parents are to take them and pick them up as the school system gets no money for transportation for these students. But that is not being enforced by school officials.
I no longer have children in the school system. Mine are now grown and gone but I continue to pay taxes for all the other children attending schools. I realize that is a fact of life and it is just the way it is but if children are being granted waivers, their parents are supposed to provide all transportation as the buses are tied to the number of children legally riding and the amount of money the school system receives.
The issue is also a very crucial safety issue. I know for a fact that most of the buses are overloaded and would not pass a DOT safety inspection if stopped. A 65-passenger bus with 68-70 children is not acceptable and not safe. There is legally allowed three children per seat but often there are four being placed in each seat and monitors and transportation assistants are forced to stand in the doorway of the buses.
This issue needs to be researched and rectified. If there is a need for more buses, why is our taxpayer money not buying them and supplying them? If I had a student in the system now, and an accident occurred and I found out my child was the fourth one in the seat illegally and was thrown out, I would own the district! There is no amount of money worth a child’s life because someone was not following the rules or cutting corners or doing a favor for a friend.
I also know there are students who live in Walton County that go to Okaloosa County schools on waivers and ride our buses with us getting no payments.
Please check into this and make all our children have a safe ride, but also put our taxpayer money to better use.
Connie Kilpatrick, Fort Walton Beach