Parents Call On CPS To Reform Bus System
Late drop off times, lack of communication and crammed school buses are at the heart of some parents' complaints about Cincinnati Public Schools' bus system.
"And once again it's all of the same answers," says Amy Waldfogle, whose daughter is a seventh grader at Spencer Center. "'There's rain; there's traffic; you don't understand; it'll work itself out." She says the reason things work themselves out is because parents quit using the bus system.
Waldfogle says she's been having this problem with CPS since her daughter started school. At the end of last year, she says she was promised a bus tracking system would be implemented this year but that hasn't been the case.
Thirteen parents and a student voiced their concerns about many issues regarding school transportation. The speeches repeated a common trend of schools losing their children and students being dropped off to school and home late. Many parents say this isn't the first year the school bus system has been inefficient.
Waldfogle says her family has stopped making plans at a specific time due to the uncertainty of drop-off times.
"It is a very difficult job logistically to get that many students to where they need to be on time," she says. "However it's their only job."
Chief Communications Officer at CPS Lauren Worley says the district's growth is amplifying the issue.
"We are growing and that means we are going to have growing pains," she says. "That's not the answer you want to hear though when you're a parent concerned about, is my child safe on the way to school?" She says the Aug. 6deadline to change students address causes CPS to reroute buses.
The district relies on contracts with various transportation companies to drive students.
Parent Kristen Ford says it's three weeks into school and she still doesn't know when her son's bus will start pick-up. She's currently paying $30 a week for her son to have reliable transportation. "It makes it hard to make ends meet, finish paying bills," she says. "I mean $30 a week doesn't seem like much, but it is when you need groceries for three kids and you don't get food stamps."
Many parents said prior to the meeting they'd reached out to officials, but their concerns weren't addressed. Ford says because of her past experiences with the district she is documenting everything.
CPS officials met with parents during the board meeting to hear their individual concerns and promised to get in contact with them on Tuesday.