School board signs on to trial traffic remedy Julie Gorham / citrus chronicle

Members of the Citrus County School Board took a step Tuesday that could eventually reduce car congestion in parent pickup lines.

The board opted to approve a pilot program through the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA) Regional School Commute Program and Pikmykid Partnership on a 5-0 vote, contingent on attorney approval.

The TBARTA School Commute Program allows parents to sign up for free online ride-matching to carpool, or to create a “walking school bus” or “bicycle train” for students who live within one mile of the school. The partner program, Pikmykid, is a real-time mobile app that allows a parents to monitor the status of their children, enabling them to know when they get on the bus, to after-school care, or when they walk home.

“I have to say it’s about time,” said board member Thomas Kennedy said. “This is what our parents are asking for; this is what the schools are asking for. We spend a lot of money on procedure and time at dismissal.”

The program will cost $2,900 per year per school, but as a pilot program it will be 100 percent subsidized for the district, with participating schools paying after the first year.

Approval of the pilot program is contingent upon school board attorney approval to ensure the safety of students. Then the programs will be available for Crystal River Elementary and Crystal River Middle School students for the first year, and if it is successful will be introduced into the entire district.

Board recognizes students, teachers

The Homosassa Guides Association was recognized for the annual fishing field trip “Playing Hookie” with the Homosassa Elementary School, which it has organized each year since 2009. Citrus High School was recognized for state winners in saxophone quartet, chorus solo and ensemble, and one-act drama and individual drama.

Lecanto High School students Gregory Buettner, Sasank Desaraju and Matthew McDermott received recognition for advancing as National Merit Scholars finalists.

“We usually only have one student; this year we had three students who were in the top one-third of the students,” Director of Research and Accountability Amy Crowell said.

“These guys are rock stars among their peers,” Kennedy said. “Sasank Desaraju has an interesting talent — he can solve a Rubik’s Cube in an average of 15 seconds.”

In other business, the board:

* Approved Todd Goolsby to be the assistant principal at Citrus High School, effective July 1.

* Approved Bridget Merchant to be the assistant principal of Inverness Primary School effective July 17.

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