Superintendent working to restore magnet buses

Dr. Nikolai Vitti says it will cost up to $5 million to restore school transportation


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County School Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said Thursday night that there's a way to resume the critical transportation feature to magnet schools. Vitti made the comments during a town hall meeting at Raines High School, making it clear that restoring buses to magnet schools would make a difference all over the district.

Just a few months on the job, Vitti is optimistic and enthusiastic about finding a way to put buses back in place for magnet school transportation.

"The former Board made a difficult decision in eliminating transportation for our dedicated magnets," said Vitti. "In looking closely at the budget, I think it's something we can do next year."

In order to restore the buses, the district would need to find between $4 and $5 million. Vitti also discussed activity buses for after-school activities, which would add another $1 million, but the superintendent seems committed to finding a way.

"It's really a parent issue, a customer service issue, and it's empowering to parents. If we're serious about connecting every child to the right program, the right school, then we have to think about how we promote our magnet schools. And that's obviously facilitated through magnet transportation," said Vitti.

Vitti believes duplicate services can be eliminated in order to get the money needed to restore magnet school transportation. Vitti said he believes that finance isn't the biggest obstacle facing Duval County Schools.

"No, not the budget. The toughest problem is culture, and expectation. Making sure we have the highest expectation in every school, every classroom, every day, every part of this school district. From the district office to school site to bus driver, that's what we need to do. It's hard to change culture, but we're going to get there," said Vitti.