Where’s My School Bus?
By Joyce Westner
Sept. 27 - Parents and students were frustrated with the school bus problems that began on the first day of school this year, but none more so than Lynch School families. Equally frustrated was school superintendent Dr. Frank Hackett who says he’s been very apologetic to those who’ve contacted him. Monday, he said, “was disastrous.”
Lynch School parent Heba Kazem definitely agrees with that assessment, and told the News that the buses have been inconsistent and on that rainy Monday, she waited with her fourth grader and kindergarten twins from 7:05 until 7:40 when her husband drove them across town from their home on Water Street to Parkhurst School on Samoset Road. (Lynch School is being demolished to make way for a new building and the 330 students are being taught in temporary classrooms at Parkhurst.)
“We had no communication from the school or from the bus company app,” says Kazem. “I asked the neighbors who said there’s been zero communication.” Attempts to reach the superintendent by email or anyone at the school by phone didn’t get her anywhere, she added.
Hackett sent messages out on Monday evening and he says, “Everyone has reached out to somebody,” and says he’d be happy to talk to Kazem to explain the situation. What used to be two tiers of bus schedules (elementary + middle/high) has turned into three tiers with the addition of the Lynch routes, and between the traffic and closed roads, “especially Lake Street,” it “kills us,” Hackett says. Plus three of the drivers were new to the town and learning the routes.
The first day of school had nine buses with routes modeled in a software program, but it was clear afterwards that they needed two more, especially because McCall Middle School kids were arriving half an hour after school started. But on Monday one bus didn’t show up and the GPS software that alerts parents of the bus whereabouts hasn’t yet been installed on the new buses. “We had no idea the bus wasn’t going to show up until I got a call from a McCall staff member telling me.” North Suburban Transportation replaced the driver, and Tuesday and Wednesday seemed to go better.
Hackett says that parents have the Parent Square app which should have notified Kazem, and has no idea why that didn’t happen. Parents on Facebook were still commenting on Wednesday that their McCall students were arriving after classes started while others reported better bus performance.