School cuts morning bus transportation, leaving dozens of students in the lurch, parents say
The ongoing school bus driver shortage is now affecting dozens of students who attend a specialized school in Henry County.
Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes was at the Academy for Advanced Studies Thursday, where officials recently announced that, starting in August, they won’t be offering students’ morning transportation.
The vocational school, which opened in 2009, specializes in trades like cosmetology, EMT certification, automotive tech, veterinary science, cyber security, graphic design and welding. Students attend the Academy for a half day and they are bused there and back by the Academy.
Parents said the school has opened up so many doors for students who may not be college-bound, but would prefer to work with their hands.
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Now, the district is not only getting rid of the morning buses, but also making the school’s start time an hour earlier.
Parents said that with no buses and the earlier start time, many students won’t be able to attend school anymore. One parent said the changes pose problems not just for the Academy, but for students’ home schools.
“If they stay at their home school, our classes are gonna increase from 36 to 50 kids,” one parent said. “We already have 36 kids in classrooms, so where they gonna sit?”
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District administrators said they understand how the changes will impact families, but said in a statement:
“That’s why we have begun these conversations several months in advance and are developing a transportation request process that will inform an alternate transportation plan.”
Parents said the plan is reactive and they should have been asked for their input before the decision was made.
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“Why wouldn’t we have done that first to see how many people would have a hardship it would cause?” one parent said. “So this reactive thing is really irritating and there’s definitely a lot of parents concerned.”
Registration for the 2023-2024 school year at the Academy starts Thursday night. Several parents plan to attend the next school board meeting on Feb. 13 to express their concerns to the school board.