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Schools urge flexibility, patience during first week of school

Posted August 25, 2008
Updated October 10, 2011

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— Traditional-calendar students weren't the only ones who headed back to school Monday. Hundreds of Wake County bus drivers also started a new school year Monday.

"You want to be on time, and you want your students to get to know you," said bus driver Marvin Pender.

Many school officials and bus drivers said the day went relatively smoothly, but some parents disagreed.

Parents complained of buses being late or not showing up at all. Students at one stop waited for more than an hour for their bus to arrive.

"They should have told us at orientation, but all they gave us was a list saying what time the route started and pretty much said we have to do the waiting game," said parent Pamela Spruill.

School officials said the first few days might require more flexibility and patience.

"This morning, everything was very late, but that's the first day," said Bugg Elementary School Principal Mary Page. "With traffic, there's a lot of things that cause buses to be late."

Bus driver Elnora Bobo drove three routes Monday morning, one of which was new to her.

"(The students) were there and they were smiling. They were happy to see me. They were OK. I'm OK, and I told them it would get better by the end of the week," Bobo said.

Several buses broke down Monday morning, which led to some of the delays. District  leaders said they received hundreds of complaints. Many more parents called the schools directly.

In some cases, the calls went directly to voice mail, but the callers were unable to leave a message because the voice mail box was full.

A WRAL reporter also called and was unable to leave a message.

Besides bus issues, the Wake County Public School System was also dealing with growth. About 5,000 new students came to the system this year, bringing the total number of students to about 140,000.

Three new elementary schools will help with the growth, but there are still capacity concerns at the high school level.

Four schools will be at least 300 students under capacity, and seven schools will be more than 100 students over capacity.

Managing the district’s record growth is one of the biggest challenges for decision-makers. That's why school board members have been outlining a school-construction plan that could pave the way for the next school bond.

Send us your back-to-school photos!

38 Comments

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  • paigeykins Aug 26, 2:01 p.m.

    Thanks MamaBear, you made my afternoon :) Not much positive talking going on lately!

  • MamaBearNC Aug 26, 10:05 a.m.

    The first 2 weeks are always a bit chaotic. From what I understand they have to make all their stops then figure out what stops are not being used. I feel it is a privilege to actually have a bus that comes around! I did not have this available to me when I was growing up. The bus system in my town was not flexible with students. I had to walk 25 minutes each day to ride the bus and it cost my parents money each month for me to ride it. So to actually have a bus that comes within a 5 minute walk of our home and drive our kids to school at no extra cost to our family is wonderful. If you don't like WCPSS there are other options like public charter school, private school, home school, driving your children.....and so on. I think you just need to be thankful for what you take for granted because you don't understand how lucky you are when compared to people in other areas of the world.

  • tchr313 Aug 25, 9:05 p.m.

    This is just part of starting a new school year--ironing out the kinks in the bus route. I'm a teacher, and we are scheduled to dismiss at 3:40. The buses didn't arrive until a little after 4pm. It made a long first day even longer, but we just chilled out. It's this way with everything--getting through the cafeteria line, packing up to prepare for dismissal--everything takes longer until you hone your routine.

  • marm Aug 25, 8:16 p.m.

    Our kids got to school just fine today. Sorry all of you had a rough one. Hang in there- it will get better. Just like it did for my middle schooler in year round.

    Quit your whining and become part of the solution. Privatization as an answer, maybe. But where are the recommendations and problem solving from the rest of you? Are you a picture of intentional excellence each time your jobs either professionally or in parenting roles have a change or transition? I'm thinking not. If by chance you are, it's great that you are that incredible of a person. How about if someone comes to criticize your every move at work or with your family? Better yet, how would you feel if your every move was criticized on your first day via media outlets?

    The Transportation staff care about all of our kids. A little less griping and becoming more accomodating is in order.

  • leaderofthepack Aug 25, 7:30 p.m.

    i might ride the bus lizard... if there was any room at all on it. I've already paid for a wayyyy overpriced parking pass

  • TheAdmiral Aug 25, 6:04 p.m.

    "F L E X I B I L I T Y to deal with being MANDATED left & right by school board members who have as much talent and intellect as the next door neighbor's poodle and FLEXIBILITY to be ready to move elsewhere when the entire system caves in all around you." -bs101fly

    I have to disagree - the poodle has a higher intellect.

  • TheAdmiral Aug 25, 6:03 p.m.

    I think the answer to the school system is "No"

    They do not show patience and flexibility when it comes to families, they would rather break them up and cause more problems separating parents and siblings with their odd school schedules than they think.

    So if you want all that money, guess what - you better be performing or you get another cut.

    Tell your County Commissioner to cut spending to the schools.

  • lizard Aug 25, 5:10 p.m.

    leaderofthepack - ride the bus and quit whining.

  • boatingforfun88 Aug 25, 5:06 p.m.

    seems like WCPSS can't get anything right!

  • leaderofthepack Aug 25, 3:27 p.m.

    Getting out of school at Panther Creek High School is a disaster right now, I drive to school and the buses block the student entrance to get out since we are now overcrowded and have no bus lot. We get out of school at 2:18 and the first students out of the parking lot left at 2:55, its absolutely rediculous.

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