LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Last week, WFXR News heard from many parents within the Lynchburg school district having issues with buses showing up on time, if at all. Now, officials with Lynchburg City Schools say they’re taking action.
During the work session on Tuesday, Aug. 17, school officials talked about steps they’re taking to resolve the issue.
Last week, WFXR News spoke with Steven Smith, who was one of many anxious parents standing at the bus stop, waiting for a bus that didn’t come.
“The bus picked him up for school after school had started,” Smith said.
WFXR News spoke with Smith again this week and he said, “It’s disappointing that they didn’t have more of the issues worked out before school started but, after last year, it’s understandable.”
Smith has been consistently checking the school’s website for updates. His son goes to Sheffield Elementary and starts school at 8:50 a.m.
“It’s been 8:23 on the website since and it’s still 8:40-ish when he gets picked up in the morning,” said Smith.
He says things are still slow but better.
“It just seems like it’s still new. They’re still learning new routes and they just don’t have enough people,” Smith said.
Senior Director for Finance and Operations Steven Gatzke says that’s exactly the case.
“From the first day of school, we found out that our routing was not correct for the buses in many cases,” said Gatzke.
Before the pandemic, they switched software systems used for keeping track of bus routes. When going back to the old system on the first day of school, programs crashed and caused panic and confusion for bus drivers.
According to Gatzke, “They’re splitting their time between working the routing system and driving buses.”
On top of that, he says they are dealing with a bus driver shortage.
Director of Information Technology John Collins says they’ve been making lots of progress in fixing things.
“We’ve brought on the software vendor, brought on onsite consultants, we have members of pretty much every administrative department onsite, we’re taking phone calls, we’re making phone calls, we’ve expanded our call queues so that parents have an easier time getting through,” Collins said.
Lynchburg school officials are hoping to have their major transportation issues resolved by Monday, Aug. 23.
The Lynchburg City Schools Transportation Department has also been working to communicate more with parents and between schools.
If you’re a parent who continues to see transportation delays, you are asked contact the school district’s transportation department.
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