Parents say it’s a nightmare not knowing if Dayton school buses will pick up their children
Some parents in Dayton say it has been a nightmare not knowing how their children will get home from school.
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“We try to have as many bus drivers as we can to cover routes,” David Lawrence, business manager with Dayton Public Schools, said. “When we cover routes, kids are picked up and we don’t [cover routes], they’re not [picked up] and it’s unfortunate.”
Steve Mongolli, who has a child enrolled at Holy Angels School in Dayton, said the bus to bring his child home has not shown up in more than a week.
News Center 7′s John Bedell spoke with both the father and the district Thursday.
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Our cameras were there Thursday to see if the bus would show up after Mongolli contacted News Center 7. The bus, DPS Bus No. 465, showed up. It was for the first time since April 21, the father said.
“It was nice to see the bus came today,” he said Thursday. “It’s been seven days of no bus. It’s just one of those things we have to kind of scramble to figure out for coverage to get our kids home.”
Mongolli said parents don’t get a notification about any bus until about 1:30 p.m., an hour before dismissal.
“So, that gives us an hour as parents to try and figure out how we’re going to get our kids picked up,” he told Bedell. “Luckily for my wife and I, we are fortunate to have a good support system.”
Grandparents and other family members help out and sometimes they carpool with neighbors whose children also attend Holy Angels.
“I definitely am hopeful with what is happening today (Thursday), that the bus stays consistent for the rest of the school year,” Monogolli said.
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Mongolli is not alone in telling News Center 7 about his frustrations over Dayton Public Schools buses being unreliable and parents or guardians having to change work schedules to pick up their children, Bedell reported.
Mongolli has filed a complaint with the Ohio Department of Education. The agency has opened an investigation.
Bedell spoke with Lawrence, the district business manager, about what the district had to say about the father’s complaint.
“That bus route is like most others, some days we have full coverage and every bus is able to pick up their child at school,” Lawrence said. “And other days, we have some routes that are uncovered. So, those are the days the routes were not covered.”
He was also asked what he had to say to parents frustrated and concerned about their children not being picked up by district buses.
“We have an app where you can track to see where the kids are on the bus,” Lawrence said. “And so, I would suggest that they use our app, and they should allay some of their concerns with their children.”
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Bedell asked Lawrence to respond to parents who have told News Center 7 they are frustrated and inconvenienced when a Dayton Public Schools bus that is supposed to pick up their children doesn’t show.
“I say in the last two board meetings, we’ve hired at least half a dozen drivers or more,” Lawrence said. “And the more drivers we hire, the more coverage we have, and we can reduce their inconvenience.”
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News Center 7 obtained two emails Thursday afternoon related to the bus transportation problems.
According to one, parents at Holy Angels were notified Wednesday that the bus route might not be covered for the rest of this school year.
Another, which was sent after News Center 7 started asking questions, showed that parents were told the bus would be there Thursday afternoon.
Bedell asked district officials if the bus showing up Thursday had anything to do with News Center 7 reporting on the situation. He was told “absolutely not.”