School Board Releases Statement on Busing Problems
School Board President Angel Faxon. (City-Times photo)
The Stevens Point School Board has released a statement in response to busing problems throughout the district on the first day of the 2014-15 school year.
Busing information for over 1,000 students became garbled during what Superintendent Attila Weninger said was a problem with software system conversion, leaving many students and families unaware of bus pick-up and drop-off information until just days before school began. Dozens of parents contacted the City-Times to complain students either were never picked up, were dropped off more than an hour late or at the wrong location, or placed on the wrong bus altogether.
Some parents even said students as young as 4 were dropped off to an empty house, while parents were still at work, instead of daycare.
The problems also extended to the Catholic school system, which also uses public school busing. Stevens Point Area Catholic School System parents said they experienced at least some similar problems last week.
The Stevens Point School District typically sends postcards to parents containing busing information about two weeks prior to school beginning, though that did not occur this year. In his letter to parents Weninger apologized and accepted full responsibility for the problems.
On Aug. 30 district leaders attempted to contact parents through email and telephone, and also published a list of pickup addresses- some of which included the residences of students- and pickup times on the district’s website. That list was taken down after the district received complaints from some parents who said they were concerned for students’ safety.
The statement reads:
The Stevens Point Area Public School Board is aware of the transportation routing and scheduling issues that occurred at the start of the school year and that these issues have caused confusion and frustration for many of our students and their families. For these, we apologize and assure you we are committed to your children’s safety and education. The Superintendent has publicly stated that a review of what happened, and why, including an overall review of transportation’s scheduling and routing will be completed by October 1. The board anticipates the information provided through this report will ensure that communication to parents, and transporting of students, occurs in a timely, efficient and safe manner. We, as a Board, look forward to hearing the report from the Superintendent and to a fantastic year serving you, our students and families.
Multiple attempts to reach John Shepard, the district’s transportation director, for comment have been unsuccessful.