New school bus stop law enacted

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 26, 2006

County school board raises awareness

By Cassandra Mickens

The Selma Times-Journal

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Effective Oct. 1, Alabama will enact a revised and more stringent school bus stop law, said Dallas County Schools Superintendent Dr. Fannie Major-McKenzie.

According to the new legislation, drivers traveling in opposite lanes must bring their vehicles to a complete stop when a school bus receives or discharges school children “on a highway, on a roadway, on school property or upon a private road.”

However, different rules apply to drivers traveling on a divided highway of four lanes or more with a median separation such as a concrete barrier. When the school bus stops for passengers, only traffic following the bus must stop, McKenzie explained at the county school board’s regular meeting Monday night.

While the law has not changed drastically from the original legislation passed in 1975, McKenzie said there’s “a little more bite” to it.

School bus drivers and peace officers are asked to report violations to local law enforcement by recording license plate numbers. Those who fail to comply with the law will incur hefty fines, community service hours and driver license suspensions, McKenzie said. Those who violate the law up to four times will be charged with a Class ‘C’ felony, the law states.

For more information regarding Alabama’s school bus stop law, call (334) 242-9730.

In other business:

Shiloh Elementary, B.K. Craig Elementary and Southside Primary were named “Distinguished Academic Schools” by the state department of education. Recognized for making great strides in the presence of great challenges, each school received an $8,500 grant, McKenzie said.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. has offered to sponsor a college tour

in Montgomery for Dallas County high school students. Only 11th and 12th graders who have passed the Alabama High School Graduation Exam are allowed to go on the tour.

The board unanimously voted to adopt pre-calculus and algebra textbooks for Dallas County High School’s ACCESS program. McKenzie said funding to expand ACCESS to Keith High School and Southside High School will be available on Oct. 1.

The board unanimously approved administrative superintendent Freeman Waller’s request to purchase new trucks for the school system’s maintenance and transportation departments. Purchased in 1996, the system’s current trucks have logged an estimated 275,000 miles, Waller said.

The board unanimously approved a Southside High School field trip to Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. The trip is scheduled for Oct. 7-8.

Board member Roy Edwards announced he is seeking re-election for his board seat this November. “(The community) seems to want me to continue my efforts and I’m going to do the best job I can,” he said.

The next county school board meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 30, 2006 at the school board’s office, 429 Lauderdale St.