BURLINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — Long waits at bus stops, leaving students late for class in the Alamance-Burlington School System, has a parent concerned for her child’s safety and education.
Heidi Fromm reached out to FOX8 frustrated about her daughter’s bus being late to pick her up in the mornings.
“She’s experiencing on a daily basis arriving to school at least 30 minutes in her first block,” Heidi Fromm said. “She’s missing that crucial information that they’re discussing.”
Fromm told FOX8 her daughter Isabella walks to the bus stop every morning around 8 a.m. only to be left wondering when her bus will show up to take her to Walter Williams High School in Burlington.
“She’s waiting an average 30 to 50 minutes every day after school starts to get to school,” she said. “They’re missing out on this information that they’re being held accountable for and it’s not fair to them.”
The first bell rings at 8:30 a.m. and when the bus runs behind it leaves the ninth grader with a lot of catching up to do.
“It’s just really annoying that I have to miss class for the bus,” Isabella Fromm said. “I miss a lot of the notes, on like Wednesday last week I missed like half of the test time for a CFA.”
She said the wait times have been so long that a Burlington police officer went out of their way to drop her off one morning when it was raining.
“He picked me up and brought me to school,” she said. “I think he went back and picked up the other kids that were waiting too.”
There are around 40 openings for bus drivers in the school system currently, according to an ABSS spokesperson.
The school district released this statement to FOX8:
“ABSS is experiencing a bus driver shortage and has been since the beginning of the school year. We have teacher assistants, teachers and coaches who have their bus license helping to fill in the gaps where we don’t have enough full-time bus drivers.
“This is not an issue unique to a particular school or school attendance zone in ABSS — it is a continuing challenge to cover all routes. Drivers are covering double routes which does put the second load buses arriving later to school and later home in the afternoon on the double runs.”
School system leaders have increased bus driver pay and offered $1,000 hiring bonuses to attract new drivers.
The spokesperson said there is time set aside each day for students to get help if they arrive late, it’s called the Success Academy.
Fromm hopes school leaders will think outside the box to make sure students get to school on time.
“Get a collaboration with the Link Transit bus maybe here in Burlington, ” she said. “Get other busing options for the children.”