Summerville parents fed up with late school buses
SUMMERVILLE, S.C. —
Parents in the Summerville neighborhood of Drakesoborough say they’re upset with school buses frequently running late.
“It’s frustrating,” said Shayla Toliver, a mother of three children attending Dorchester District Two schools.
“The students need to be in school. They need to be there when school starts,” she said.
She says school buses frequently showed up 20 minutes after their scheduled arrival time of 6:30 a.m. to pick up her children during the 2016-2017 school year.
“It got a lot worse toward the end of the school year,” she said. “The school would always refer us to the transportation department. There wasn’t good communication between the transportation and the school.”
“There were days when it was here at 6:15, there were days when it was here at 7:20,” said Charles Randall, a parent of two in Drakesborough. “You never really knew when the kids were getting picked up.”
He says some mornings he took matters into his own hands.
“There were times I just got irritated and took them to school," he said.
District officials told ABC News 4 the most common cause of late buses is simply heavy traffic.
Steve Shope, the Director of Transportation for Dorchester District Two, says the district is working to improve communication with parents and students.
“We’re collecting data now. We bus roughly 16,000 of the district’s 26,000 students, so it’s a whole lot to process,” Shope said. "I’m hoping we can get that by about mid semester where we’re full up with being able to communicate with every bus at every school level.”
Shope said the district is collecting parent’s numbers and email addresses. He said the difficulty of linking the district’s outdated routing software with a communication system has delayed the process.
“We inherited a system that was not really technologically advanced, and we’re trying to make progress as fast as we can,” Shope said as he also cited budget issues.
“It’s just a matter of budget priorities. We’ve had three new schools we opened in the district last year,” he said. “Having enough seats for kids to sit in is of course going to take priority of something that’s going to make us more efficient.”
Shope did say that new routing software, which can run tens of thousands of dollars, is not necessary to implement a communication system. Both the Charleston County and Berkeley County School Districts use an app called Remind Me to alert parents and students of late school buses.
“It can be frustrating if we as parents have to be held to that standard,” Toliver said of having her kids to school on time. “We are told when the bell rings and our children need to be there before hand. Then I think the transportation provided by the district should also be reliable and follow thru with that as well.”
CLICK HERE to view Shope's response to complaints about late school buses in the Drakesborough neighborhood.