Parents voice concerns about bus routes, school answers

Parents voice concerns about bus routes, school answers

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Parents voiced their concerns Tuesday about the bus system with the Jonesboro Public Schools.

Joe Richmond lives off of Highway 141 and said his kids have to walk about 4 blocks on the side of the highway to get to where the bus will pick them up.

There is not a side walk on the side of the road where Richmond and his kids live.

He said he saw about 8 kids walking along the highway Monday afternoon when school ended.

He just wants to know his kids will be safe when walking to and from the bus.

"Well they need to pick up the kids where they live on the main road," Richmond said. "If they have a sidewalk on their side, fine. By all means my kids could walk there with no problem. If there's a sidewalk and they're safe."

Mickey Long, the director of transportation with JPS, said they simply can't go to each and every home.

He said they have about 3,500 students riding the bus every day. He said they do try to work with some, but they can't make everyone happy.

"We evaluate our routes on a daily basis," Long said. "We instruct the drivers to inspect the routes on a daily basis. If we find that we have an unsafe area, then we're very proactive to try to change that and get us a safe place."

Nila McGinnis is another parent who is concerned about getting answers from the school.

She said she was told her kids would be dropped off at a specific location after school, but that didn't happen.

She said she waited about two hours at that location, but her kids were dropped off down the street and had to walk to her location, which was a few blocks away.

She said when she tried to call the school or someone with the bus system, no one answered and she was left with unanswered questions.

"They need to be more precise about things or more in the loop with the parents and the bus driver and you should be able to get a hold of somebody if call where you are supposed to be calling at and they don't respond," McGinnis said.

Long responded by saying parents don't need to call the transportation department when trying to figure out where their children will be.

"The best way is to communicate with the school," Long said. "I mean each school campus, I mean you know we're dealing with a 3500 group of students and each campus is 3 to 4 hundred give or take a little bit. So they're dealing with the students on a much smaller scale and the communication can be so much better between the school and the campus."

Long continued to say parents were given plenty of time to discuss the bus routes with the school since the end of the last school year.

He said the school had open houses before school started where parents could get the answers to their questions.

He asked now that parents be patient with the school during these first few weeks as everything is worked out.

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