CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – The start of a new school year always has a few kinks, but Sharon Williams says her son’s problem rises above that.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s unacceptable,” she told WAVY.com. Her son is in sixth grade at a Chesapeake Middle School. She says every day since school started September 8, he arrives late to home room.
“They take journals or get important information from the morning announcements. He’s missing that,” she explained. She believes the problem lies with his bus route. Williams says her son is consistently picked up between 9 and 9:05 each morning. His stop is last on the route. So, if you factor in drive time that means her son gets to school around 9:15. But, the school day starts at 8:50.
“I called transportation several times and still have not gotten an answer at all. No where to leave a voicemail, nothing.”
She also called the school itself, but said the woman who answered the phone did not give her any answers.
That’s when she called 10 On Your Side. After we left several messages for School spokesperson Kellie Goral, she sent us an email. According to Goral, there are 10 to 15 bus driver vacancies in the division. To cover the gap, substitute drivers are pitching in. That means some routes are left without a driver. So current bus drivers are splitting uncovered routes and/or doubling back later they complete their initial route to then start a route that is left uncovered. Goral also says the buses drop off at elementary schools first. So if that gets delayed, the middle school pickups get pushed back too. Goral did not say when all these problems will be fixed. Now Williams is looking at other options.
“That would be my next step to take him to school every day if I have to, but I still feel for the other kids standing out here till 9-9:05 waiting for a bus,” Williams said.