Wake County bus drivers ask for patience; WCPSS releases morning, afternoon route information

ByDiane Wilson, Jamiese Price, and ABC11 Digital Staff WTVD logo
Wake County Schools release morning, afternoon bus routes information
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With the new plan, some students will arrive up to thirty minutes after school starts.

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Friday, Wake County school leaders released the morning and afternoon bus routes for students.

A year after WCPSS struggled mightily to fill its bus routes, leaving many students stranded at the bus stop, the district has completely redone its bus routes.

The district admits it is still about 300 drivers short of being fully staffed. That means there are no substitute drivers. So if a driver calls out sick, it will cause a ripple effect of delays. If a driver calls out, the goal is for the district to communicate with parents and try to provide immediate bus rides to all elementary students at the expense of delaying service to middle and high school students.

In addition, without any drivers calling out sick, the new routes on average will have 3,000 students arriving late to class -- sometimes as late as 30 minutes.

The stacked bus routes also mean some students will have to stay late after school.

WCPSS sent an email to parents on Thursday letting them know that even if their child was in year-round school, routes for those students might have changed.

Check here for WCPSS bus routes schedule

Many parents were upset to learn their students may regularly show up late to class.

"I feel like they're missing the main part of the education. So that's like putting a backend on their learning," one parent told ABC11.

Many educators feel the same way. Such as Wake County NCAE President Christina Spears.

"Many times in elementary school they do things like morning meetings first thing in the morning. where we greet our classmates and we talk about what we're doing for the day, and we sing or read a book together. And so those are really critical moments for students to miss during the school day."

School board leaders said they understand and share the concern for that lost classroom time.

"Those students are missing all of the information they need to go on with that lesson. So it's almost like that entire lesson there's going to just be doing catch-up. So I feel like it will make the learning loss even worse," said Cheryl Caulfield who is a Wake County school board member.

The traditional school year starts on Monday, August 28, and bus driver Leon Forte is asking for patience.

"Our main goal is just to make sure we get the kids to school safely and back home to you guys safely," he said.