GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Some school bus stops close to Eastside High School have been eliminated. The state only funds transportation for students who live more than two miles from school. For years, the school board has allowed students who live closer to school to ride through "courtesy bussing."
"I just want the kids to be able to get to school and to get to school safely," said Kizzy Hill. Her son attends Eastside High.
Hill said her son got a letter announcing his bus stop was canceled because it was less than two miles away from the school.
"For neighborhoods that really aren't eligible technically for transportation to their school, what we will do is allow those students to ride the bus and sometimes we'll even set up bus stops if there is space on a bus that's already going to the school," said Schools Spokesperson Jackie Johnson.
Johnson said they have always had space for this neighborhood, until now.
"This year that bus has been extremely overcrowded and in factoring the first couple of weeks of school, our transportation office had to send a backup bus to Eastside High School in the afternoon just to pick up the kids who didn't fit on the bus," said Johnson.
Hill mapped it from the bus stop to the school, and the GPS on her phone shows she lives 2.2 miles away.
"For some reason they're saying that my GPS is wrong," Hill said.
Johnson said the school board is already short on buses and drivers. "When you have a courtesy rider, you get no funding at all from the state. We're having to foot that cost and that's money that really should be going into the classroom."
Hill said letting her son walk is too dangerous with the recent teen shootings and gang activity. She said students like her son already have a lot stacked against them. "They have to deal with the peer pressure, gangs, violence, so much stuff and it's like so many things against them."
Johnson said there is no real solution to the problem. "We do sometimes tell parents if it's possible to set up rotations where an adult walks with the student."
Hill's alternative has been to give her son money for a city bus.