Bus problems mar first day of Wake classes
Posted August 27, 2012
Updated August 28, 2012
Cary, N.C. — New bus routes that made children late to school and getting home got the start of the school year in Wake County off to a bumpy start.
Vanessa Harrison said the bus to take her child to Hilburn Drive Academy never showed up in the morning.
Laura Langenbach, Anita Leggett and Melissa Edwards had long waits for their children after school, despite the fact that the live only 2 miles from Apex Elementary School.
"It is frustrating, and I am nervous," Leggett said. Bus tips for traditional-calendar parents
Edwards said her son didn't even leave Apex Elementary until long after class let out.
"They were in the hallway for about an hour," she said.
One Wake County mother even called police when her son didn't come home and couldn't be found after school.
Bus routes for 20 students at West Cary Middle School weren't showing up in district's computer system, so administrators held the students back to sort it out.
The 11-year old boy jumped on a bus on the wrong route, and his mother had no clue where he was for two hours.
"It is scary when you do not know where your child is," said the woman, who asked not to be identified.
Wake County Public School System officials said the other West Cary Middle students made it home with less trouble.
"As big as a county that Wake County is and how much we have grown, we do grow to expect this year over year," district spokeswoman Cris Mulder said of the bus problems.
School buses in Wake County make about 25,000 stops a day, and Mulder said transportation officials are trying to smooth out the bumps in the road on new routes. Dozens of buses were taken out of service this year to cut costs, maintain efficiency and keep state funding.
"There are going to be some longer ride times that are going to be part of that," she said.
Parents said communication would have made a huge difference. They said the district never alerted them to bus delays and the possibility that they children might be hours late.
Mulder said checking and double-checking each bus takes time. She asked that parents bear with it and said that the situation should improve each day because of the feedback they're providing.
"We are able to monitor and track and find out what buses are making their stops on time," she said.