Friday, September 9, 2011

The Clock Is Ticking

It’s the end of the first week back at school, and for the three of my children still in the public school system, almost everything has gone very well. But, the one thing that hasn’t gone well is very very not well.

In my town, high school starts at 8:45 am. The past two years, Ronnie and Ashley went to the same high school and were picked up by the same accessible bus. The bus driver knew my family well, and understood that as a single parent, getting to work on time was important. He changed his route schedule just a bit to pick Ronnie and Ashley up first. That allowed me to get to work on time. Not so this year….

The problems started the Friday before school was scheduled to start. As I always do, I called transportation to verify that I still had the correct bus numbers and schedules. Ronnie moved to a new high school this year, so I was dealing with two bus numbers and schedules.

When I called, the transportation office gave me the bus number and pickup time for Ashley – bus number 1980 and pickup at 8:16 am. That was going to be a problem by preventing me arriving at work by 8:30 am. But, I figured I would let the transportation issues settle in the first week, and then I would make my request for an earlier pickup.

Next, I asked for Ronnie’s bus information. “Ronnie who?”, they said. Even though his IEP denotes special transportation with pickup and drop off at home, there was no record of that need. I tried to reason – I called the school teacher and principal – I got angry – and then I drew a line in the sand. Ronnie would not be at school the first day unless someone picked him up.

Perhaps as retribution for that line in the sand, on Monday (Labor Day) I got a call saying bus 300 would pick him up at 8:20 am. Again, that’s a problem for me getting to work on time, but again, I decided to let things ride for the first week.

Here’s how the first week went:

Tuesday – Ashley picked up at 8:30am, 14 minutes late. Ronnie picked up at 8:55 am, 35 minutes late and 10 minutes past the start of school. Once he arrived at the school, I estimate he was about 30 minutes late for school.

Wednesday – Ashley picked up at 8:25 am, 9 minutes late. Ronnie picked up at 8:50 am, 30 minutes late, and again, late for school.

Thursday – Ashley picked up at 8:25 am, 9 minutes late. Ronnie picked up at 8:45 am, 30 minutes late and again, late for school.

I’ve called and emailed and whined and begged and been professional all the while. The only response I get from transportation is that they are discussing to see if there are any other options.

Well, school district, here’s an option – you are not providing services as outlined in Ronnie’s IEP since he is late getting to school each day. I feel a state Department of Education complaint brewing, and compensatory time building.


Krystle said...

Ugh, poor you. I can't imagine how frustrating that is. I'll be honest, school buses scare the H out of me! Atleast, while they are still little anyway, Peyton can start the school for developmentally delayed at 2, & I believe they have a school bus (she missed the age cut off by 2 months, so we will visit this next year) but the thought of a 2 year old on a bus with no car seat..makes me ahhhh.

I think it's just that I'm not in control, I don't like riding with other people either.

To have your whole day & livelihood rely on the school district sounds like a horrible position to be in.

I hope they can get it worked out,if not you suck it to them!

MB said...

We have the opposite problem. School is 30 minutes away, and the bus comes at 7:30 am, a full 90 minutes before school starts. A long time for a four year old. And she is one of the last picked up! I feel bad for the first couple of kids.

Of course when we had the heavy rain last week it took 3 1/2 hours to get her home. 15 miles.

I'm giving them until this end of this week to figure everything out, then the calls are going to begin!