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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Hot schools, heavy traffic and businesses caught in the middle



Much of this is normal for the beginning of the school year, there's just a lot more of it -- and public places for people to vent.

Teachers and parents are complaining openly about problems with the air conditioners.

And, in suburbs including Westchase and FishHawk Ranch, traffic is piling up as 7,000 students adjust to live without seats on the school bus.

Some parents are using local businesses as drop-off and pick-up points -- and the businesses are not liking it.

Fred Scarcelli, owner of the McDonald's across the street from Newsome High School, issued this statement on Thursday:

"The safety of the students, customers and crew is our top priority.We have been a proud member of the Fish Hawk community for over 16 years. As such, we have welcomed members of the community through our doors and supported local events and the schools themselves. We are here to provide a safe and enjoyable restaurant for all of our patrons.

We have always discouraged students and parents using our lot solely as a pick-up and drop-off area for the safety of those using the lot for that purpose and for our customers. This has become exacerbated with the change in county bus routes. The increase of cars, students and parents in our parking lot for the purpose of pick-ups and drop-offs has created potential hazards for those patronizing our business and for those using our private parking. It leaves our customers unable to find a parking spot due to the number of cars and poses a safety and liability issue for the restaurant to have minors on the lot.

In order to manage this situation and mitigate and potential problems, our lot should be used for restaurant guests visiting the inside of the restaurant or using our drive thru to order and pick up food.

We are eager to - and want to - help find a solution together with the school. We will be reaching out to the school directly to ask for their support in communicating the issue, as well as working with other Hillsborough County resources to further explore options to alleviate the situation."

It's not clear what -- if anything -- one fast food restaurant can do.

Judging by the chatter on social media, parents, after months of complaining to their elected School Board members, are reaching out to one another to form carpools.

Education advocate Melissa Erickson took to one of the Facebook sites to urge parents to place the blame where she feels it belongs -- the Legislature.

The district, meanwhile, continued to send out texts advising parents of possible bus delays.

The limited sample that was shared with the Tampa Bay Times showed improvement Thursday over Friday.  

[Last modified: Friday, August 11, 2017 6:23pm]


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