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Lee County School Board votes to approve consultant to reduce length of bus routes

Consultant will cost $280,000 in tax dollars
Lee Schools votes to hire consultant to reduce bus route lengths
Posted at 7:10 PM, Jan 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-15 07:05:25-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Lee County Schools have been looking for a solution to long bus routes for the past 10 months, and on Tuesday night, the board finally voted to bring in a consultant to reconfigure the district.

Lee County is now the 32nd largest school district in the country, and to re-zone it will cost $280,000. For Lee County parent Bethany Bauer, the cost of the plan was a total surprise.

"280 thousand dollars. That's a lot of money," said Bauer.

Bauer often puts her kids on the bus in the dark because they have to get up so early.

"The first week of school, my 11-year-old was walking up to the bus stop with his younger siblings and me, and was almost hit by a car," said Bauer.

That's the kind of dangerous situation the district is trying to prevent. Lee County Schools Spokesman Rob Spicker said, by decreasing the amount of schools parents can choose to send their kids to, buses don't have to travel as far.

"It will allow students to not travel as far, it will allow them to go to schools in their neighborhood. That’s going to reduce bus times and have students, the youngest students out in the dark for less time," said Spicker.

But Bauer said there are quicker, easier, and cheaper ways to keep kids safe right now.

“Lights at the stops. Signage at the stops," said Bauer.

With the current plan the board just passed, it would take up to a year and a half to complete the study, but they said it would also save up to $1,000,000 a year in transportation costs.