Wake County Schools

Parents: Wake bus changes would disrupt morning for students, volunteers

Posted February 14, 2012

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— Wake County school officials said Tuesday that they have already received more than 6,000 comments from parents on a proposal that would change bus schedules and reduce the numbers of routes.

The Wake County Public School System posted the survey on its website last week to gather public comment on the changes proposed for the 2012-13 school year.

Parents can review what's planned for their assigned schools and offer their feedback until Thursday.

The school board is expected to revisit the plans at its Feb. 21 meeting. Any changes to next year's bell schedule must be in place by the end of March.

Administrators say the proposed changes would increase efficiency and accommodate growth while reducing the bus fleet by 112 buses, saving approximately $6 million. The move also would restore school transportation efficiency to 99 percent, preserving $4 million in state revenue.

The district would cut back on the number of tiered bus routes, lengthen bus runs and increase the number of students on each run.

Broughton High School in Raleigh, for example, would start 40 minutes earlier; Holly Springs Elementary School would dismiss students nearly an hour later, around 4 p.m.

At Briarcliff Elementary School in Cary, their school day would start and dismiss nearly an hour later.

Briarcliff parent Kari Moncrief said her children would not be sleeping in during that extra time.

"They're up early. They're ready to go, and especially starting kindergarten," Moncrief said. "The morning, it's the time when they're going to learn the most, and when half the morning's gone – starting at 9:25 a.m. – their clock is going to be a little bit off."

Parents fear Wake County bus changes Parents fear Wake County bus changes

Fellow Briarcliff parent Teresa Leavens has concerns about her 9-year-old son Elliot's body clock as well, but she's also worried how the change will impact parent volunteers at the school.

Leavens, who works full-time at North Carolina State University, said the morning is the best time for her to volunteer.

"I tend to do it first thing in the morning, prior to going to work," Leavens said. "That will be one of the biggest impacts for me, trying to fit that into my schedule in addition to work."

Leavens coordinates the volunteers for Briarcliff's enrichment and tutoring programs. Half the parents who volunteer work outside the home, she said.

"I'm concerned that if it impacts their work schedule, we may be less likely to find parents to come in, and we really do need them involved in our program," Leavens said.

Some parents say they wished they knew about the proposed bell changes before they made their school choices.

Parents have until Feb. 24 to rank their choices before school staff place students. They will be notify parents by March 16.

19 Comments

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  • hope4thepack Feb 16, 2012

    .....have been tryping for the past 6 days to get into this SURVEY...and keep getting notice that the website is down or not available...how convenient....has anyone else encountered this problem....I guess the WCPPS just only care about THEIR agenda and no one else's....if they are SOOOOOOOOOOOO CONCERNED about transportation costs..then they need to stop bussing students from one side of the county to the other....that's what local/neighborhood schools are for....there should be a sign as you enter Wake County....the land of frustration of realistic goals....

  • kebrownie Feb 15, 2012

    leeandkaren and Nancy - you got it! base school you get bused. magnet and other choices - "byo". and just where will this savings end up? no talk about it going to the classrooms or teachers. and to repeat from tedmet11 "I have no problem with an efficient bus system that minimizes costs; I just have no confidence that the boards analysis is really accurate and that we will actually see these savings" also - no info came home from the school, the board, the PTA..only caught wind of the survey from the news. so why is WCPSS not contacting the parents directly for their input? perhaps they are hoping to pass this before anyone really knows what they are planning?.

  • Nancy Feb 15, 2012

    strawberry, what is the speed limit on that section of Lake Woodard Rd? Any main thoroughfare, which is what that road appears to be (not inside a subdivision), requires more stops for safety concerns. No sidewalks for kids to stay off the road to gather at one location, high volumes of traffic at more than 25 mph etc.

  • Nancy Feb 15, 2012

    "You want to SAVE real money...then STOP magnet busing of kids across the county (i.e. from Apex to Downtown Raleigh). Have only transportation for the base kids! " - leeandkaren

    Bingo! Years ago when I drove for WCPSS (mid to late 90's), I substitute drove another drivers year round school route. It was for West Lake (located in Apex, just north of Fuquay no less) and the first student picked up? Way out on the west side of Cary, close to the airport. And by the time the 90 min bus run was completed, only picked up 24 students - that driver was tied to one route only because she couldn't possibly take another route and get kids to school on time. A total waste! And that kind of nonsense has been going on forever.

    Base school = free transportation. Magnet and other 'choice' schools = out of a certain regular radius, provide your own.

  • josephlawrence43 Feb 15, 2012

    If I was the Board--I'd simply cancel all bus transportation--period. I would tell the parents--you pick the school you want your child to attend--and you are responsible for getting him/her to and from that location. Probably have a higher percentage of approving parents than they have now..

  • soyousay Feb 15, 2012

    Have not checked the figures but it worked in the 50s and in the 60s will work again. Those 04150. shoes were made for walking

    just to let you know then, things have actually changed in the last 50 or 60 years..exactly how much money of the taxpayers are you ready to spead to build all those schools in a county full of sprawlling subdivisions to realize that fantasy?

  • tedmet11 Feb 15, 2012

    I have no problem with an efficient bus system that minimizes costs; I just have no confidence that the boards analysis is really accurate and that we will actually see these savings. I looked at one school, Davis Drive Middle that is proposed to change from a 815 to 730 start and then see another school just a few miles away, Salem Middle, that is proposed to change from 730 to 815. These schools service adjoining neighborhoods and buses serving one could easily serve the other school. So changing these school’s schedules and disrupting a few thousand families will accomplish what?

  • Crumps Br0ther Feb 15, 2012

    Don't forget we also want busses to pull over to the side of the road after dropping off or picking up kids, so cars that have built up behind the bus can go around the bus and continue on their way.

  • injameswetrust2003 Feb 15, 2012

    Strawberry: you keep posting the same thing, who cares.

    Let's see, save $10 million for ALL taxpayers, or inconvenience a few whiny parents.... tough choice. I'll go with the $10 mill.

  • leeandkaren24 Feb 15, 2012

    For those that think this will save money, have you looked at their #1 assumption for this cost analysis? It is CURRENT assignments. Remember that is all changing>>> That's like me asking for a cost analysis to paint my house and having the estimator go and look at my neighbor's house and saying that would be the cost for my home.

    Second, a 1 hour and 40 minute change for us is NOT minor. It is major...10 minutes and even 30 minutes is doable.

    You want to SAVE real money...then STOP magnet busing of kids across the county (i.e. from Apex to Downtown Raleigh). Have only transportation for the base kids!

    Have 1 choice for elementary, middle, and high that comes with transportation and if you "choose" anything else, you can still go, but with you providing the transportation (just like a transfer).
    Now that would save some money and is a common-sense approach with nothing to hide.

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