On Friday, Madison City Schools Superintendent Robby Parker said the district needs to improve punctuality with its buses.
"I won’t make excuses. We need to do a better job picking up and dropping off kids on schedule," said Parker. "The challenge is fueled by a driver shortage, increased traffic and simply hauling more kids. Enrollment has grown by 564 students since this time last year. That alone increased bus ridership by nearly 300 kids."
Parker said the district's transportation department is usually the first to experience the tangible strains from record growth, and they are working hard to fix this.
Parker said the district has eight new buses on order to add to its fleet, and they are looking at a GPS-based service that would have a portal for parents to track buses in real-time. He said the service will likely include an instant notification system for parents, in case of a change in buses. Parents have told WAAY 31 they would like a GPS-based service to be implemented.
"Our transportation department is actively recruiting drivers through social media, employment ads, and outreaches to groups like veterans, retirees and our local teacher’s organization," Parker said.
Parker said the district runs 146 bus routes each morning and afternoon.
"I do want you to know that the employees at the bus office work diligently and tirelessly to get our kids to school, take them on field trips and to athletic events safely," Parker said. "Even though there have been some late buses, I know our drivers love our kids and give their sweat, heart and soul to keep our kids safe. I am proud to say that a state inspection today found zero deficiencies in every single one of our 95 buses. That is a direct reflection on the mechanics, office personnel and leadership at the bus office."
Parker finished with a promise that the district will do better.
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