Local News

School starts today

SEBRING - Some school buses will be rolling out on the county's roads as early as 5:30 a.m. today for the first day of school. Transportation Director David Solomon said some buses need that early start to reach the "outlining areas." The district will be running 99 bus routes to get students to and from school. "One of the main things that we ask is people be aware of the kids standing on the side of the road," he said. "Also, that when the buses stop, when the stop arms are out, we ask that they do stop and give the courtesy of the safety of those kids getting on the bus."
The national association representing state school transportation directors recently released the results of its third annual survey on illegal passing of school buses. In 29 states throughout the country, 23 percent of the nation's school bus drivers participated in a one-day survey to report how many times motorists passed their stopped school buses illegally. More than 108,000 school bus drivers reported that 85,279 vehicles passed their buses illegally on a single day. Throughout a 180-day school year, these sample results alone point to over 15 million violations by private motorists, according to the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services. As schools prepare for the first day, Cracker Trail Elementary will have a few extra students because of parents who opted for a transfer from Memorial Elementary under Florida's Opportunity Scholarship Program. According to the program, a child who attends a school with an "F" accountability grade or three consecutive "Ds" is eligible to transfer to a higher performing public school for the 2013-14 school year. Memorial Elementary received an "F" grade while Cracker Trail Elementary received an "A" grade. Cracker Trail Elementary Principal Rick Demeri said Friday that currently he will be getting 14 transfer students from Memorial Elementary School. There could be more who haven't processed yet, he added. "It hasn't really impacted the overall numbers at the school," he said. It represents about one classroom worth of growth, but the school also had some withdrawals. "We will wait to see how many warm bodies actually show up on Monday and go from there," Demeri said. mvalero@highlandstoday.com 863-386-5826