Parents fired up over school bus problems

September 4, 2012 8:24:23 PM PDT
Parents were throwing members of the Wake County School Board under the bus for ongoing school bus issues in the district at a meeting Tuesday evening.

The school board has responded to the problem by adding more buses, but parents want to know who's going to drive them.

"I apologize to our parents and thank our parents for their patience and understanding this week," said school board member John Tedesco.

However, the school board and superintendent's apologies weren't enough to quell the palpable ire from parents.

"I am ashamed once again of Wake County," said Apex parent Gayle Sabol.

"There were 58 less busses and there's a choice plan that will bus you all over planet to get you to school," said Cary parent John Shell.

About a dozen parents lined up and fired off angry indictments about what's been dubbed Wake School's busing debacle.

Apex parents like Alicia Motkya, who said her child's wait and ride to and from school have more than doubled from last year.

"Your schedule has turned my son into a grumpy and exhausted child who doesn't want to complete his homework or do anything by the time he arrives home," said Motkya.

Her story was just one of many prompting the meeting.

After thousands of horror stories of late, early and no show buses, The district Tuesday added 34 buses to its line-up after earlier removing 48 to improve its state efficiency rating.

Apex and Millbrook each received seven more. They were among a total of 15 other schools beefing up.  

"Do we have drivers for those buses? Or is it true that we are now using mechanics to drive those additional buses," asked Raleigh parent Amy Lee.

Wake Schools Facilities and Operations Chief Don Haydon said mechanics are also trained to drive. After a daylong refresher course over the weekend, they will take over the duties at least temporarily with a possibility to recruit more drivers down the stretch. Haydon did not give an explanation on how the bus problem happened in the first place.

To some parents, the lack of an explanation left them to throw the choice assignment plan under the bus along with some of the board members.

"You can't fix the bus problem without fixing the choice problem," said Beverly Clark with Great Schools in Wake.

School officials said they are willing to do whatever it takes to fix the busing problem.

In the meantime, updated bus routes have been published on the WCPSS website .

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