Area schools may qualify for sidewalk funding after initiative

Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 07:56 PM.

The Safe Routes to School program covers public and private schools’ kindergarten through high school students. Though the local school board must provide infrastructure on school property, TAP money could fund projects within a two-mile radius of a school that are designed for "helping children to safely walk to and from school," Wilson said.

Of three Okaloosa County projects vying for TAP funding, only Antioch Road is in the county’s north end. That means Antioch Elementary is the only school currently eligible to apply for Safe Route to School funds, though any other school could seek funding for projects under the program.

If the school pursues a sidewalk project, it would be up to the county — which would maintain the sidewalks — to collaborate with the school district and have them constructed.

"It's not the responsibility of the school board to build sidewalks," Smith said. "It's the responsibility of the municipality. If you're going to do it, you have to make sure you get 100 percent of the money back and you're clear," or auditors will "rip you" for using school funds off of school property.

Robinson said she would like to see local governments applying for more TAP funds.

"Quite honestly, Okaloosa-Walton probably needs to get some enhancement and Safe Route to School projects moving along," she said.

Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.

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