Wake County Schools

Apologies, anger as Wake school board deals with bus delays

Posted September 4, 2012
Updated September 5, 2012

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— The Wake County Board of Education heard from angry parents and apologetic staffers Tuesday night on the issue of busing for 75,000 to 80,000 public school students across the county.

Since the start of the traditional-calendar school year a week ago, parents have complained that buses are late, lost or non-existent, leaving students stranded at bus stops and at school or riding for hours to reach their destination.

Ricky Barker, of Cary, said his son rises at 5:30 a.m. for a 6 a.m. pickup. He ride the bus for 75 minutes to arrive at his school, six miles from home. 

"I am fed up," said Alicia Motyka.

Tuesday was the first meeting of the Wake school board since the problems began. Board Chairman Kevin Hill opened with an apology. "I am dismayed by the events of last week," he said.

Chief Facilities and Operations Officer Don Haydon explained how the school system reduced the number of buses on the road this year by 52 to better match the state's bus efficiency model. Angry parents at Wake schools meeting Apologies, anger as Wake school board deals with bus delays

The district must maintain a balance of spending on buses and drivers – a formula that compares different districts across North Carolina determines efficiency – to keep millions of dollars in state funding.

Each extra bus costs the school district $70,000, system spokesman Mike Charbonneau said. The district also could lose about $3.5 million in state efficiency funds because of the additional buses, he said.

Over the past week, school officials have put 34 buses back into the fleet. Superintendent Tony Tata told the crowd that he took the bus himself on Tuesday in Apex, to be sure routes and drivers were on track.

"You've got to stop messing in kids' lives and do the right thing," parent Gayle Sabol said.


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  • cmac4duke Sep 6, 2012

    Neighborhood schools is a good solution. Fear of your neighborhood school not meeting standards? Money saved by cutting out all these redundant bus routes could be diverted back into teacher salaries and teachers could be paid based on performace....if they fail to meet standards.....fire them. Sorry teachers.....I want you to have raises and good salaries but tenure is a joke and you should be sure your students are meeting goals. Imagine all the money saved by not running all those extra buses............$$$$$$$$$

  • Plenty Coups Sep 5, 2012

    Forced diversity is a bad idea. People choose where to live.(sorry, they do) I want my kids to be able to go to a neighborhood school.

  • OpenM1nd Sep 5, 2012

    They are using a computational algorithm for routing, capacity, and scheduling, aren't they? If not, I think I see an opportunity here for some serious software.

  • westernwake1 Sep 5, 2012

    "Wake School system was doing ok until the GOP members messed it up.." - Bronco

    The GOP members supported Neighborhood Schools - an assignment method used successfully by over 95% of school districts in the United States. Thanks to interference from Democratic Board members and the NAACP we got a "Choice Plan" which is a compromise solution that assigns based on diversity, proximity, cost, capacity, and many other factors.

    "Choice" forced on us by Democrats appears to be as much as a disaster as the former Diversity Assignment policy which forced yoru "node" to change schools every year and was also shoved on us by Democrats.

  • tedmet11 Sep 5, 2012

    All the brilliant suggestions to "take your kids to school themselves" obviously do not work or drive themselves. The gridlocks on our roads and around schools that taking all our kids to school ourselves would cause would effect everyone who drives or rides in a car, with and without kids. We got a taste of this last week when the carpoolers increased dramatically trying to get their kids to school in a reasonable time frame. At my son’s school last week the carpool lane that typically took 15 minutes took over an hour.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Sep 5, 2012

    Why don't these parents just take their children to school themselves...then problem solved?

  • LucaBrasi Sep 5, 2012

    And the answer is “neighborhood schools”

  • slcota Sep 5, 2012

    "If we got rid off all the buses and made parents drop off and pick up their kids from school each day, then expect your tax bill to increase even more. Remember that a lot of working parents use buses to get their kids to school so they can get to work. Without the buses, expect welfare to increase to cover all those parents who have to quit their jobs in order to take their kids to school."
    Thats EXACTLY what I was thinking.. all these parents should just quit their jobs.. stay home.. go on food stamps/welfare to survive JUST so they can get their kids to and from school everyday... everyone's taxes will go up because they are losing a substantial amount from all these parents NOT working anymore.

    April NC Born

  • angelienna Sep 5, 2012

    That is a great thought, but is against the rules. Children are not allowed to do homework on the bus. This comes from the bus drivers/ rules the kids are told by school and is true not just at my kids middle school but also several other schools I have heard of. I thought it was crazy too... but the kids are breaking the rules if they try to get their books out and study.

  • due_whats_right Sep 5, 2012

    If your child went to a charter school, you would not need to complain - you would be their source of transportation. And yes, your taxpayer dollars would go to support the school just as it does in Wake County.

    A bus not showing up, unacceptable but it happens. Stop whining about it and help find a solution. There is such a spirit of expectancy from adults, I see why my students feel the way they do. I have kids who have kids but are made b/c there is no daycare or transportation. Ummmm, I didn't tell you to have a child before graduating so don't expect ME to solve your issues! I hear the same sentiments here. Make arrangements for your child to get to and from school until this mess is solved but stop the whining! You are such great role models for your chaps!