A shortage of bus drivers and a problem with a new routing system have combined to cause transportation delays and prevent some students from getting bus passes the first week of the school year in the Muscogee County School District.
A frustrated mother told the Ledger-Enquirer in an email Thursday she had to “basically threaten” a school official to get her high school child a bus assignment after her middle school child received one.
“One of the excuses they used was a new routing system,” the mother said. “My question was, ‘You didn't fix glitches by the first day of school and make sure all kids have routes?’”
In a post Thursday on its Facebook page, the Fort Benning Morale, Welfare and Recreation office said MCSD “experienced a software failure that led to the bus transportation problems our off-post high school students experienced the first three days of school. The transportation failure will be resolved in two phases. Today, four buses will pick up students according to the schedule here. The second phase is being worked this week with the Muscogee County Transportation Office to reduce the time students spend in transit and number of pick-up locations.”
All school systems struggle to hire bus drivers, MCSD operations chief David Goldberg told the Ledger-Enquirer in an email Thursday. Although the district started the school year with a shortage of 12 bus drivers, eight are in training and are expected to be on the road “within a week or two,” he said. “That’s the closest MCSD has been to filling all allotted positions since I have been here.”
Goldberg, who was hired in February 2015, further explained, “We are working diligently on routing all of our students who are eligible for transportation. The majority of the students who do not have assigned routes to date registered for school in late July, early August or have an incorrect address in our student information system. A portion of our student population is very transient.”
In an email Tuesday to parents, Aaron Cohn Middle School principal Richard Green wrote, “Ultimately, even though excuses are made, we as a school district should be doing a better job in communicating and planning bus routes. I assure you that we are in CONTINUOUS contact with the transportation department to rectify the shortcomings. As soon as the passes are issued we will get them in your child's hand so they can have normalcy. If you are able to use the web program www.infofinderi.com you can set your child up temporarily until the bus pass is issued. Feel free to contact me and yell all you wish about this. We earned this ‘fuss out’ and I apologize.”