Wake County Schools

Wake officials breathe easier over school year start

Posted August 26, 2013
Updated August 27, 2013

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— Hundreds of thousands of traditional-calendar students in North Carolina headed out the door Monday for the first day of school, and Wake County Public School System officials said they were pleased overall with a smooth operation.

The school district was marred last year by major transportation problems, and administrators were on standby Monday to tackle any problems in their busing plan, which was overhauled for the 2013-14 school year.

The changes include placing an additional 50 buses and 200 drivers on the road compared with last year. More than 930 buses ran more than 4,600 routes Monday, and each bus was equipped with a GPS device to keep real-time track of routes.

"Overall, we haven’t had that many problems, but we are looking at some trouble areas and what we can do to improve those," said Renee McCoy, a school district spokeswoman.

The school district also set up a website for parents to map routes and get live updates on school bus progress.

More than 75,000 students ride the bus in Wake County, and officials said most buses arrived on schedule Monday morning. A few were late, and some didn't show up at all, parents said.

Sherrie Bolton wound up driving her three children to school after the bus skipped the stop in their Apex neighborhood. Last year, she said, the bus never showed up.

"It's better than last year – at least there was a bus. It just skipped us, so we're almost there," Bolton said. "I'll fill out the form later today and probably try to call see if anybody answers."

Wake Wake schools leaders pleased with transportation on first day

Wake school buses at school Wake school officials plan to work on busing problems

School district officials encouraged parents to fill out an online form to report any problems with school buses or provide other feedback. They were already sifting through comments Monday morning to pinpoint trouble spots.

"We’re really looking at the information parents send in," McCoy said. "This is so crucial for us. Based on what the parents are telling us, we know where to center our attention on those problems."

Mike Barnes said the first month of last year was "pretty rough" because parents could never count on bus transportation for their children.

"I guess time will tell to see how smoothly they run (this year)," Barnes said. "I think it’s important to have a smooth running bus system. The parents depend on it to get on work on time themselves."

Susan Scalco took a day off Monday to ensure her children made it to school, and she gave the district a thumbs-up because the bus was only five minutes late.

"They should have mothers plan out these routes," Scalco said. "We know when it’s terrible traffic. We know how to get to A and B the shortest shortcut and pick everyone up at the same time."

McCoy said some buses ran later than usual Monday afternoon as school officials worked to ensure that children were on the right buses.

By Monday evening, the district had received about 2,175 calls from parents. McCoy said those calls included questions, concerns and compliments.

"Compared to last year, that is a vast improvement,” she said. “In different regions of the county, we have had concerns. We are just as concerned as parents are about those areas.”

Monday also marked the opening of the new Rolesville High School. The four-story, $75 million school welcomed ninth- and 10th-graders this year, but it will eventually accommodate more than 2,000 students in grades 9-12.

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  • Radioactive Ted Aug 28, 2013

    " I hear they are going to start charging for transportation in the next two years."

    You really should change your ID.

    "Correction: Will go up if mommy and daddy vote yes for the school bond."

    OK, now I see why you made up this stuff.

  • Prestige Worldwide Aug 27, 2013

    My 9th grader came home yesterday afternoon with deep grooves in both knees: Said that the bus home was too crowded, and that she had to kneel in the aisle (on the rubber treads). Same thing today-she took a photo of the kids sitting on the floor, the whole length of the bus. My 11th grader had always reported that the bus was always overcrowded, but I was never aware of the extremity-or the safety issue this poses for all our kids on that bus.

  • WralCensorsAreBias Aug 27, 2013

    "Buses and education is not free!!! it is paid for with my taxes!!! so when I pay for a service I expect it to be done correct!!"

    Man you got that right. I hear they are going to start charging for transportation in the next two years. Federal money is going to come to a crushing stop and then mommy and daddy are going to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of an additional 500-1000$ per school year. If mommy and daddy don't like that then they'll be able to opt out and do the driving themselves, but their taxes will stay the same.

    Correction: Will go up if mommy and daddy vote yes for the school bond.

  • whatelseisnew Aug 27, 2013

    "And there still wreckin out there.And what about the guy who waited for his kid to be picked up and droped off. I think it was 1 hour to be picked up and 2 hour to be dropped off. Ya, I'd be pleased with that"

    Early days this stuff is going to happen. We started driving our kids because they were the last ones picked up and the last ones dropped off, just the way the route worked. They could streamline all of this by centralizing pickup points, but then people would have to travel a bit to get to the bus stops and then they would whine about that.

  • whatelseisnew Aug 27, 2013

    "Who are you? Some people actually work for a living. Some people have children at different schools and on different bell schedules. FYI - we had to drive our kids to school yesterday. We had no choice. As a matter of fact this is the first year I've had to put my kids on the bus. BTW - the bus and education is not free. I'm paying for it with my tax dollars."

    I drove my kids to school for years, on my way to my job. I agree the buses and the schools are not free. If you have to put your kids on the bus, then you have to do it. Maybe someday we will replace the current system with something much more effective and cost efficient. won't happen until people are willing to work together to change it. The folks controlling the current system do not want to change it. They want that empire so they can milk more money out of the pockets of the people that pay the bills. The superintendent story is a classic. How about we create systems that do not require those positions.

  • Paul M Aug 27, 2013

    Juat saw were another bus was in a wreck

  • A person Aug 27, 2013

    Congrats, they actually did the job we pay them to do, for a change

  • Paul M Aug 27, 2013

    And there still wreckin out there.And what about the guy who waited for his kid to be picked up and droped off. I think it was 1 hour to be picked up and 2 hour to be dropped off. Ya, I'd be pleased with that

  • Canes Girl Forever Aug 27, 2013

    "I have a wonderful idea. Bus issues? Get in your car and take your kid to school. Then go pick your kid up. Bus ride is free, education is free. For now. vrigg45071"

    Who are you? Some people actually work for a living. Some people have children at different schools and on different bell schedules. FYI - we had to drive our kids to school yesterday. We had no choice. As a matter of fact this is the first year I've had to put my kids on the bus. BTW - the bus and education is not free. I'm paying for it with my tax dollars.

  • cecil822 Aug 27, 2013

    And only 4 school bus accidents on the first day. Must be a new record.

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