Milton school board committee stalls on issue of bus ride times
MILTON--Milton School Board Transportation Committee members on Monday were quick to pounce on liability and communications issues linked to the district’s after school bus transfer system.
But at the same meeting, committee members sidestepped a thornier, more complex issue that’s drawn ire from district parents—the specter of lengthening bus ride times.
Committee members Tom Westrick, Wilson Leong and Janet Green on Monday had a roundtable discussion with its bus contractor, Go Riteway.
The committee probed bus company officials on the chain of communications between district schools and parents—and the policies the company has in place for safety of younger students transferring buses after school. The committee asked Riteway to:
--resume mailing annual busing contracts to parents, which was a past practice in the district, officials said. The contracts would show parents what time their children would get picked up and dropped off, if the student would have an afternoon bus transfer, and how that process works.
--Set up a chain of communication with Riteway being the first to receive, respond to, and direct parent phone calls on busing issues.
--mail a survey to update Riteway’s transportation data. Riteway officials said Monday it’s been “two or three years” since it’s had updated its databases on how individual district families use busing.
The district and Riteway have been in hot water recently over the elementary school bus transfer at Northside Intermediate School, a daily part of district busing that’s been blamed for a kindergarten student getting on the wrong bus last month.
At the same time, the district’s gotten an earful from parents who say bus ride times have increased by 15 or 20 minutes for their children after school—a problem Riteway and the district blame mainly on construction from the Highway 26 project.
Changes discussed by the committee and Riteway on Monday didn’t directly address the issue of lengthening ride times, and the talks didn’t seem to satisfy Noah Lamson, one parent at the meeting.
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