What's Bugging you Mid-Michigan? Parents who have children who are bussed to Parkside Middle School in Jackson are upset because their kids are getting to school late. Kids have to wait a long time for the bus in the morning and after school especially kids at one busy bus stop. We waited with parents for the bus at the Francis and Wilkins Streets stop to see just how long the wait time was on an average day, and we talked to Jackson Public Schools' Superintendent to see what the problem is.
It's 7:45 AM, and a Jackson Public Schools bus was supposed to pick up students at this stop...Francis and Wilkins Streets... 45 minutes ago. It's a busy stop with around 25 kids waiting to get to the Middle School at Parkside before class starts at 7:30.
"I'm upset. My son is in algebra first hour. That's a high school credit if he gets an A or a B, and he's missing class time. And he's pulling a C in that class right now," said Lisa Neino, a parent.
And this has happened most every day since the school year began. When the bus approaches the stop and realizes there isn't room to accommodate the kids... it drives by. Then, parents wait for another bus to come pick up their children. They tell me it's a huge inconvenience.
"I have two other children I have to pick up and take to school, too, And in the mornings when my daughter isn't getting picked up on time I'm late to bring my other children to school too," said Jennifer Swank, a parent.
And it's been happening in the afternoon too. Kids from the stop often board the bus and are told to get off. There just isn't room for them. They have to wait for another bus.
"They've gotten so dishearten that they don't even try to get on the bus anymore. They just wait, and yesterday the wait was 45 minutes after school got out," said Neino,
Long wait times are causing kids to miss class and after school activities. The superintendent says it's happening because the district is adjusting to a new, privatized bussing system that saves the district money.
"We have to cut around 2 million dollars. This offered us to opportunity to cut 250 thousand of it. Our mantra is to try to keep programming at its highest level," said Dan Evans, Superintendent of Jackson Public Schools.
To make sure students can get to that programming, Superintendent Evans is with working with METS, the private company managing bus rides for Jackson Schools, to speed the hiring process and quickly bring on new drivers. They're also working to rewrite bus routes. He says the kinks would be worked out soon.
"I really do believe we've got to buckle down and get kids on those busses, and we're looking at options," said Evans.