CRESTVIEW — Okaloosa County School District officials want to prevent traffic woes Aug. 12, when all teachers gather for a back-to-school event on the county's south end. Thirty-one school buses will transport up to 1,000 teachers onto Okaloosa Island during the event, according to Assistant Superintendent Nick Kootsouradis.
The 15 schools selected to have buses were chosen based on the number of teachers they have and their location, he said. The remainder of teachers at the district’s other 25 schools have been asked to car pool, but it will be left up to the individuals to pursue this.
The four big high schools will have two buses each and a mixture of elementary and middle schools will get the others. Buses from Crestview and Niceville will use the Mid-Bay Bridge to avoid needlessly slowing eastbound traffic at the Brooks Bridge.
Teachers coming over the Brooks Bridge this year are being asked to take an immediate right after they reach the island. The goal is to prevent a back-up at the left turn lane into the Emerald Coast Convention Center from U.S. Highway 98.
Last year, eastbound traffic on the island was backed up nearly two hours almost to the intersection with Beal Parkway on U.S. 98. It affected traffic flow on southbound Eglin Parkway as well. The backup lasted for about two hours.
Principals, assistant principals, program directors and assistant superintendents gathered at Shoal River Middle School last week to officially kick off the new school year.
In addition to a presentation by Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson and Assistant Superintendent Marcus Chambers, leaders from various departments around the district were given an opportunity to speak to educators.
In addition to the lecture-style presentation, the leaders were broken down into smaller groups for afternoon discussions.