Wake Schools Cuts Some Bus Service to After-School Club
Posted August 29, 2007 6:21 p.m. EDT
Updated August 29, 2007 10:53 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The Boys and Girls Club of Wake County serves about 700 kids each day. But some children can't get there anymore after the Wake County School System cut bus service from at least seven schools.
Parents, such as Geraldine Gilbert and Marjorie Jawara, are now scrambling to make other arrangements.
“I actually found out the Thursday before school was starting,” Gilbert said.
“It doesn’t make sense to us or the children,” Jawara said. “They are just as confused.”
School system officials said they were trying to make bus routes as efficient as possible. If the transportation pattern didn’t take buses by a certain after-school program, those stops were eliminated.
The issue affects the Boys and Girls Club center in Raleigh and Wake Forest. Wake Forest officials said they know of five schools that will no longer bus kids to the center. Raleigh Center officials said they know of two schools.
Both centers still serve about 20 schools each.
“I think what’s happened over the years is there’s been exceptions to policies and procedures,” said Don Haydon, Wake County Schools chief facilities and operations officer.
With 874 buses on the road and an expected 8,000 more students, school officials said they had to make the best use of their time and money.
“Every little stop or delay adds some incremental cost to the cost of transportation,” Haydon said.
Jawara and Gilbert said the decision is not only inconvenient for them, it's troubling for kids who have nowhere else to go.
The Boys and Girls Club president said he is also concerned.
“It’s too early for us to really know what the impact is,” said Ralph Capps. “Anytime you have kids going to an empty home, that's a recipe you can have problems with.”
Jawara and Gilbert said they are hoping for compromise, because buses from their schools still travel near the Boys and Girls Club.
The school system’s transportation department said it was following the rules laid out by the school board. Those school board members are expected to talk about the issue at a work session next week.
Dozens of schools across the county are not affected and will still provide bus rides to the Boys and Girls Club.