Superintendent Is Close to Finalizing Bus Routes, Parents Still Not Happy

September 30, 2003 - Posted at 11:15pm

WEINER, AR -- A letter was sent home with students last Thursday with Weiner School District students explaining that buses would be making fewer stops. The consolidations shortened at least one route from 1.5 hours to 35 minutes. It would seem the changes work, but not everyone's happy.
Tony Lewis, a parent, said, "My kids, you know, it's about a mile now from the house, and you know, sometimes we're there to pick them up. Sometimes we're a little late in the afternoon now, and you know, it's either you get them or you can't."
The main 2 problems parents have with the bus route changes are that school board members and Superintendent Betty McGruder didn't ask for their input, and that some stops continue to be on 3 highways within the district.Administrators of Arkansas school districts do not have to provide bus transportation for students. They are only required by law to provide transportation for special needs students. McGruder explained it's up to the superintendent to decide what stops and routes buses take.
"There is a line where the school district's responsibility stops and the parents' begin, and getting your child to an assigned bus stop falls under parents responsibility. Getting them safely to school from that point on is our responsibility," added McGruder.

Grandparent Calvin Raines said, "If they was gonna change them up, why didn't they let us know and let us at least give us the privilege to come to a board meeting and let us see what was going to be changed up, because whether they like it or they don't like it, everything that she said wasn't what she told us in the office Monday."

The superintendent has advised parents that they must submit a request in writing to be on the agenda of the next school board meeting next week. That's the only place parents will be able to get board members to officially comment about the changes. Parents hope the problems can be resolved then.

They held their third meeting about the bus route changes tonight. School board members were advised by attorneys from the Arkansas School Board Association not to attend a meeting Tuesday as a representative of the school board.

Superintendent Betty McGruder will now start working on where to put bus stop signs, and will also ask county deputies to watch for speeding drivers along those routes to help make busing safer.