Wake County Schools

Parents say bus schedule changes will cost Wake families

Posted March 13, 2012 10:37 p.m. EDT
Updated March 14, 2012 4:51 a.m. EDT

School Bus

— Wake County parents renewed their cries of opposition Tuesday to proposed changes in the district's bus schedule, saying the money-saving measure for the school system will end up costing families instead.

Parents have inundated the school system with complaints about the changes, which district leaders say could save as much as $12 million in transportation costs.

Under the proposed changes, more than 100 buses would be taken off the street, students would spend more time on the bus and the number of students on each route would increase.

The move would also change arrival and dismissal times at many schools by as much as an hour. On Tuesday, Superintendent Tony Tata met with parents at Sycamore Creek Elementary School in Raleigh, where bell times will slide back 45 minutes and bus ride times will increase as much as 10 minutes.

Kim Moore said the proposal raises too many questions for her family.

"I do not see how there will be enough buses," she said. "Will teachers provide (before-school) care?"

Donna Brashear said she will have to pay more for before-school childcare if she wants to make it to work on time.

"(We're) digging into our pockets and putting me out of a job," she said.

Of the dozens of parents who turned out Tuesday in opposition to the changes, only Rhonda Curtright said she supports the idea.

"This county needs to start saving money," she said.

The school board put off the controversial measure last week, but is expected to vote at its March 27 meeting.

In the meantime, district leaders have tweaked some aspects of the plan to ease or eliminate the negative impacts on several schools. Tata pledged to take parents' concerns into consideration and to look at ways the district can move programs around to help with before- and after-school care.

"We listen, and I've got some ideas floating around to ask some hard questions of the staff," Tata said.