Rep. Oscar Longoria introduced a bill designed to increase student safety at school bus stops, but some local school districts are worried it could drastically increase operating costs without a change to the state's transportation funding program.
HB 243 would require school bus drivers to drop off all students on the side of the road on which they live, avoiding the need for students to cross the street to and from their bus stop. School district transportation departments would need to re-route any bus route that is not in compliance and possibly add routes and drivers.
The bill states that school district bus routes "may not in any manner require a student to cross a highway or roadway between the student's residence and approved bus stop." It goes on to state that districts would need to update routes for any new student added to a route during the school year to ensure the route remains in compliance with the law.
Several student transporters voiced concern over the bill in an email listserv run by the Texas Association for Pupil Transportation.
Longoria said the legislation is in response to the issue of motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses. A 16-year-old girl was struck by an passing vehicle and killed last year in La Joya, Texas while crossing the street after exiting her school bus.
The legislation would require a two-thirds vote of approval in both the House and Senate to take effect immediately. If passed by a smaller margin it would go into effect Sept. 1, 2015.