Parent shuttles kids to school after GCS bus is more than 40 minutes late

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Kids in an east Greensboro neighborhood had to stand out in the cold or take shelter while they waited for the school bus Wednesday morning.

Guilford County Schools says one of the bus drivers who transports kids to Bessemer Elementary School called out. There was no substitute available so another driver had to pick up the route.

The school district says GPS placed the bus at the stop on Delancy Street near Bessemer Avenue around 7:43 a.m. That’s more than 40 minutes after its scheduled stop.

Some family members said they gave up on the bus and found another way to get the kids to school.

“After 20 minutes I'm like, ‘This is ridiculous, I’m going home,’ especially to see my grandson cry and have tears running down his face, talking about how he's cold,” said Betty Cauthen, whose grandson goes to Bessemer Elementary.

Cauthen called her daughter to take the 8-year-old to school.

Jesse Simpson told us he shuttled his son and more than a dozen other kids to school in his van.

“This morning it was basically ice cold,” Simpson said.

Simpson said he knew putting all the kids in his van was not the safest thing, but he didn’t want to leave anyone behind.

“The kids don't have keys to get in their house or they're going to be home sitting by themselves,” Simpson said.

Both he and Cauthen said they have had issue with the bus before.

“Sometimes it shows up,” Simpson said. “Sometimes it comes at 7:30. Sometimes 7:45, Sometimes it doesn't even show.”

The transportation director with Guilford County Schools said the system has an issue with hiring and retaining bus drivers. Right now, there are 53 vacant positions. 11 percent of the buses in the county are not operating on schedule.

Simpson told us the kids in his community deserve better.

“When they go to school and they are having a bad day, you're not going to come back and say their day has already started off bad,” Simpson said. “We're going to say this is a troubled kid, this is a kid that feels like they aren't wanted because the bus doesn't even come pick them up.”

Jeff Harris, the GCS director of transportation, said the system is doing a number of things to get more bus drivers. They are advertising positions and going to job fairs. His team is also trying to find a way to help candidates pass the written test at the DMV. Passing the test has been an issue for many.

Harris also says they are trying to find a better way to notify parents about delays. Right now, his team is supposed to contact the school. He wants to find a way to contact parents directly.

In the situation on Wednesday morning, Harris was not sure if someone reached out to family members about the delay.

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