ILION — Central Valley Central School District Superintendent Richard Hughes addressed problems with the bus runs after dismissal on the first day of school on Wednesday.
"One of the problems we had was so many parents were picking up students in cars that it caused traffic to back up onto Barringer Road [at Barringer Road Elementary School] and Columbia [Street at Harry M. Fisher Elementary School]. It caused some buses already out to not be able to get back in line for dismissal," said Hughes during a telephone interview Thursday afternoon.
Hughes said three of his own children who attend Fisher Elementary were 35 minutes late for their drop off.
"It was the same for everyone else at the same bus stop," he said.
Hughes expressed his frustration with the situation in an article posted on the district’s website on Wednesday.
"This is unacceptable," said Hughes in the article. "We are talking to our elementary administrators, our transportation department and parents to determine what caused the problems."
"As the parent of four small children, I put myself in the shoes of mothers and fathers waiting for a school bus," he continued. "My apologies mean little at this point to concerned parents. I will promise, however, that we will get to the bottom of the problems and fix them."
Hughes said among other problems the district experienced Wednesday was some students got on the wrong bus.
"That’s common on the first day of school," he said. "A long line of cars is not common. We were not prepared for that. We did our transportation plan for 1,700 students. We definitely don’t have that many riding. We will do an audit later and figure that out."
Hughes said a meeting was held Thursday with administrators and officials to address the problems.
Hughes said things seemed to have improved by Thursday’s dismissal. The last child to be dropped off Wednesday was at 4:45 p.m., and on Thursday, he said the last child to be dropped off was at 4:25 p.m.
Hughes praised Barringer Road Principal Jeremy Rich and Fisher Elementary Principal Michele Pilla who "did a great job of tweaking things."
An article posted on the district’s website on Thursday said parents can help minimize mistakes and confusion for the bus runs by taking the following steps:
Reviewing young children’s transportation badges and notifying the transportation department of any errors.
Double-check the transportation letters mailed in August to each family and make certain students understand which buses they ride (bus routes and numbers have changed since last year.
Notify the school in advance of any transportation changes, such as a change in after school care.
Hughes urged those who have bus route concerns to contact him at the district office either by phone at 894-9934 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.