With some students facing long bus rides, Manatee County School District considers rezoning

Rezoning District

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - A change that would impact thousands of parents and students in Manatee County could be on the way.

School board member Dr. Scott Hopes says there are kids living in neighborhoods right across from a school but are being bused 15 miles to other schools. He is now pushing for the district to be rezoned.

“Young children, kindergartners, first, second graders spending an hour to three hours a day on a bus and that’s time that’s pretty much wasted," Hopes argues.

That’s a total of 180 hours a school year. Hopes says that’s time students can spend doing homework or with their families.

“Our schools, especially our elementary schools need, to be the center of the community. Now we are going to have hundreds that will be able to walk to their neighborhood school and enjoy all that can be offered," says Hopes.

Hopes says there are a total of nine neighborhoods in the county where students are being bused for hours a day. He says other board members seem to be on board with rezoning the school district, something he’s been pushing since his first day on the school board.

“What we need to realize is that we have 3,000 elementary seats in the district. This school behind me has 200 empty student seats and there are children across the street that are bused for nearly an hour to another school when they can walk to this school," says Hopes.

For parents who don’t agree with the possible change, there is good news. Students would be able to continue attending their current schools. However, there’s a catch - transportation would not be provided.

In about 30 days, board members will meet again to decide a plan for rezoning the school district.

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