Students' parents, Brooksville HOA battle over gate

Video Courtesy of Channel 8 News, Tampa

Reporting By Dave Kraut 

Published October 4, 2012

 Watch VIDEO


One Hernando County neighborhood decided to lock a gate that gave students access to their schools. The gate is still open, but parents wonder how long the route to the schools will be available.


Students who live in the Brookridge community in Brooksville hurry through gates in the back of their neighborhood to get to school at Central High, West Hernando Middle and Pine Grove Elementary.

Today was supposed to be the first day that the children would have to find another route to get to school.

The Brookridge community board voted last month to lock the gates, saying that would help 

prevent crime. Currently the gates are open only while students are going to and from school. A security guard drives by while the gate is open. The board says it does not have the money or manpower to open and close the gates just for students.

"There are ways around spending $12,000 a year to keep this gate open. They don't need it manned. We have a crossing guard that works for the sheriff's department. We have the protection there, you have the parent there," said Dwayne Ross, one of the parents.

The board did not have a comment, other than stating it has agreed to extend the gate closing deadline to October 15.

The statement from the community also states that the board is disappointed with the Hernando County School Board, school district transportation division and Hernando County Sheriff's Office for not being responsive to this issue. The board says it will consult its attorneys and might look in to using volunteers for a limited time.

Some parents said the board is not willing to allow the students access to the schools via the gate.

"They wanted us to cool down, well they never did anything so we're not going to stop. That gate needs to stay open," said Mike Dwyer, a parent.

Another parent says the gate issue is part of the board's plan to make the community a development for residents who are 55 and older only.

"If they close the back gate a lot of parents are going to get upset," said Stephenie Baldwin, another parent. "Obviously maybe some are going to move which they are hoping, which is going to make it even more easy for them to make it a 55."

If the gate remains closed, then the students will have to walk to the front of the development, west on State Road 50, to Sunshine Grove Road, then north to Ken Austin Parkway, and then east to the schools. So, instead of walking 12 yards through the gate, they will have to walk about six miles to their schools.

The school board will not assign a bus for the students, because the transportation department determines distance to a school as the crow flies, not by the route via road.