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Parents at Eagle Ridge outraged over new school bus stop


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Parents at Eagle Ridge outraged over new school bus stop

By Matt Grant. CREATED Aug 15, 2012

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Another Lee County development is raising concerns about the safety of their kids' school bus stop, bringing the total to eight.

Fox 4 has been hearing complaints from parents for weeks. They tell us the new stops are too far and are putting kids in danger by making them wait on busy roads with little or no sidewalks.

"I worry that a child's going to get hit," said Kerry Constantine, a mother of two at Eagle Ridge in Fort Myers.

Constantine says buses have been coming into her community since she moved there in 2003. The stop used to be a block from her house. This year it was moved to Eagle Ridge Drive, a busy road with no sidewalks almost two miles away.

"We used to have bus stops throughout the community," said Constantine. "They've taken all of the stops within our community away."

This year, the Lee County School District began enforcing its own policies which states school buses can't go into gated communities.

That's angered parents from Royal Tee in Cape Coral, to Cross Creek in Fort Myers, and six other communities including Eagle Ridge.

But, as Constantine points out, Eagle Ridge isn't a gated community. We checked and found the roads are actually owned by the county so the district could still be able to pick up kids there.

To make things worse, parent Steven Fixler says the district told him about the change four days before school started.

"Was that enough time to be notified about something like this?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

"Not at all," said Fixler. "This was a complete smack in the face." 

We called school board member Don Armstrong who recently requested a transportation safety audit be conducted.

"They made some good points," said Armstrong, who spoke with Eagle Ridge parents. "We have to make sure that stop is safe."

Armstrong says he'll look into their stop and the one at Cross Creek, where students have to wait on Daniels Parkway - something he admits could be a safety concern.

"As a parent," said Armstrong, "I'd feel just as uncomfortable as they do."

But not as uncomfortable as Fixler, who says if the district won't fix this situation, he will.

"Honestly, I'm ready to move out," said Fixler. "I'll find a place that's more conducive to my tax dollars." 

Board Chair Mary Fischer says she's aware of, and looking into, the safety issues raised at Eagle Ridge.

Board member Jeanne Dozier and newly elected board member Cathleen Morgan did not return calls for comment.

Matt Grant