BACK TO SCHOOL: Making sure the school bus shows up

Posted at 7:53 PM, Aug 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-03 19:53:27-04

There's more to getting kids on a school bus than just waiting at the bus stop.

Parents have to fill out some paperwork and get it back to the school to make sure the bus shows up on the first day. Last year there were all sorts of headaches when hundreds of local parents waited till classes started to get their kids on the list.

"It's a difficult process to add kids later," said Tracey Moore, Transportation Coordinator for the Ingham Intermediate School District.

Last year Moore's staff learned just how hard that process is when early 300 parents passed in bus forms on the first day of school.

"Trying to get 200 to 300 kids on a bus within 2 days becomes really cumbersome," Moore noted.

First the ISD has to figure out if the kids can go to an existing bus stop of if they have to add a new one.

"We then have to notify our partner, Dean Transportation, of--'hey we've got this new stop, we've got this new student, it's going to impact this route, we need the bus driver to go and look at this stop.'

Every time the district adds a new stop it changes the bus schedule by about 5 minutes, bumping the pick-up and drop-off times for kids who were already signed up.

"We've told mom and dad that we're gonna pick up at say 8 o'clock and now we're going to have to back the route back up, which then causes a conflict for them getting to work on time or whatever else they need to be doing," Moore explained.

That's why the district is urging parents to send back their form as soon as possible. But they're also warning parents to be prepared just in case the bus schedule changes.

"Be patient with us," Moore said. "By the second or third week of school it's all worked out."

Parents like Diane Blakeman know just how important it is that her children's school bus shows up on time, especially since changes mean she has to re-arrange her schedule so no one is late to class.

"They miss the bus and we have to drive them," Blakeman said.

Luckily Blakeman says most years the schedule is set by the first day. Plus her three kids are all on the same bus, a perk that makes the unexpected change a little easier to handle."

"They all get up at the same time and get ready at the same time," Blakeman added.