Some parents upset about long bus rides in Wake County Schools

If the first day of school in Wake County is any indication, the year could be exhausting for some Wakefield Middle School students in the Gray Cliff Community.
If the first day of school in Wake County is any indication, the year could be exhausting for some Wakefield Middle School students in the Gray Cliff community, complete with early mornings and long bus rides.

Michele Davis said the bus came at sunrise Monday morning, which is about a full hour earlier than last year.

"Our bus route, being the largest, starts at 6:40. I'm not sure how we went from 7:30 to 6:41 a.m.," said Davis.

The kids say their bus got to school around 8:25 a.m., which only gave them five minutes to spare before classes started. Classes dismissed at 3:15 p.m., but Debbie Franciscy's son, Tyler, didn't get home until almost 4:30 p.m.

"He's already waking up at 6 o'clock in the morning, which is an hour and 15 minutes earlier than we used to do, and this is just day one," Franciscy said, "and he's pretty tired today."

The students in Gray Cliff are among 75,000 across Wake County who got picked up by 910 buses Monday. District leaders say the day went well with a majority of buses arriving on time, and more than 99 percent arriving within 15 minutes of the bell.

Still, Davis said she's concerned about the size of her child's bus route. Of Wakefield Middle's 17 routes, theirs is the only with 18 stops, and the only that picks up before 7 a.m.

"Even if they came a little bit later, I think this bus route is too large. It needs to be split into two," Davis said.

Franciscy said drivers should flip the routes in the evening so that all kids spend an equal amount of time of the bus.

"The kids that live the closest to school are being the last ones picked up in the morning and they're being first ones dropped off in the afternoon," Franciscy explained.

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