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First day frustrations over bus issues in RUSD

Posted at 7:09 PM, Sep 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-03 20:09:06-04

RACINE, Wis — The first day of school excitement quickly turned to frustration for families in the Racine Unified School District as dozens of parents claimed buses were either severely delayed or never showed up.

"15 kids out here standing in the corner at the bus stop waiting for the bus that never showed," said Korine Sheltman.

Sheltman's daughter was ready for the first day of kindergarten at Dr. Beatrice Jones Elementary School. They even went out to the bus stop few minutes early to see her friends. However, after about an hour of waiting in the rain Sheltman said she and her neighbors scrambled to sort out a carpool.

"We had 5 buses drive by. None of them stopped to communicate to say hey they’re on their way," Sheltman recalled.

"It was frustrating when I talked to the one bus driver and he said, 'Well I would call the check on your bus, but I don’t know who to call,'" said Gina Conners who has two kids in RUSD.

Conner said bus information for her sophomore was outdated, despite the information being correct last school year. She said her fourth grader's bus did not show up for nearly an hour Tuesday morning before she drove him to school at Olympia Brown Elementary.

"There was no notification. I signed up for everything online for late buses or school closings things like that you get notified...nothing," said Conner.

The mother of two said when she finally got her son to school she was told buses were running an hour late.

Conner and Sheltman were just some of the parents that voiced frustrations on RUSD's Facebook page. The original post asked bus riders for patience as they worked out the kinks n the new bus routes and navigate through the rain. There were more than 150 comments on the post.

In response to the concerns RUSD sent us a statement saying:

"During the first week of school drivers, students and families are getting comfortable with new bus routes and we tend to see more delays in pick up and drop off times. The severe weather that took out power and downed trees in Racine compounded our challenges this morning."

"Our drivers and transportation staff are working diligently to ensure that first and foremost every student arrives to and from school safely and secondly to improve timeliness as quickly as possible."

Recently, RUSD hired First Student to provide bus service to more than 11,000 students.

Sheltman is trying to give the drivers and the school district the benefit of the doubt.

"I’m hoping it gets better I really do. I know there’s always kinks in the beginning of the school year, but an hour with no communication is a little ridiculous," Sheltman said.