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A working parent's nightmare: When the school bus doesn't show up

 

This morning, I was out walking my dog when I saw a school bus approach the bus stop in my neighborhood. It was 15 minutes after the time school had started. A father waiting at the bus stop was livid. He was late to work and his kid was late to school.

The bus driver told him that her route had been changed and she had five stops in the morning for high school. She informed the father she likely would never make it to the elementary school bus stop in our neighborhood before the school bell rang.

Of course, the bus was now completely empty and was about to make a trip to school without any students. Parents in the the neighborhood had given up on the morning bus showing up. What a waste of gas!

For working parents who rely on school buses, the situation is unacceptable. It's a week after school has started and some buses still have never made it on time to the bus stops to get kids to school or home from school. And, it looks like they never will because the current bus routes don't make sense. 

For the last week, what's gone on in Broward County with school bus transportation has been disgusting. Many students never received bus information before the start of school, creating chaos on the first day when the school bell rang and students had no idea which bus to ride home. Even worse, buses were late or didn't show up at all, forcing working parents to leave their offices and pick kids up at school, hours after buses were supposed to arrive. Now, it's a week later and the situation hasn't improved.

Even worse, some parents are still complaining about children having to get on a bus during pre-dawn hours (4:30 a.m.) and then arriving an hour or more before school starts. That's a downright safety concern.

Whoever is in charge, know this: you are putting kids and jobs in jeopardy. I feel for parents struggling with work life balance who now are at work worrying about whether their kids have made it to school and home safely. Some parents are on standby every day, waiting to see if the bus shows up to take their kid home from school or whether they need to leave work early to pick there kid up from school, hours after the school day ended. My son's bus home has been at least an hour late every day since school started.

Bus drivers apparently are fed up too. Linda Lewis, who represents bus drivers through the Federation of Public Employees union, said some bus drivers quit after they were involuntarily given bus assignments far from home or with too few hours to make ends meet.

Someone must be held responsible for this mess!

Broward Schools Superindent Robert Runcie has said the the district made changes to bus routes in an effort to make them more efficient. Do you see any efficiency in having buses make so many morning stops that they can't possibly get kids to school on time? I have spoken with principals who are completely frustrated by the school bus mess as students still try to figure out what bus they're supposed to be riding home on.

Michael Mayo, a columnist at the Sun-Sentinel, says tomorrow could be a watershed day for Runcie as he faces concerned school board members at a workshop that was supposed to be about school boundaries. I sure hope my livid neighbor shows up.

 

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