Bus routes anger Rock Hill parents; officials say problems solved
Chaos is nothing unusual for the first day of school. But the new bus routes at the new Rock Hill Elementary School have some kids in tears and some moms and dads seeing red.
Tammy Jiles of Decatur Township said her daughter, who is a first grader, got home Monday and Tuesday evening at 5:30, even though the they live only six or eight miles from the school. Classes are dismissed at 3:30.
To make matters worse, her daughter had to stand up on the trip to school because there weren't enough seats on the bus for all the children.
Jiles said the part of the reason her daughter was so late getting home was because of confusion at the school about what child should ride what bus. Some children do not ride the same bus to and from school.
In addition, some Decatur area kids have to change buses in the afternoon. They go to the old elementary on one bus, then get off and climb aboard another one to make the rest of the trip home.
Problems with the bus routes led school officials to make changes to the routes Monday afternoon, and some kids who thought they would ride one bus home were told by their teachers at the end of the day they would in fact be riding another.
"I know at least 50 kids who missed the bus to go home," Jiles said.
Another Decatur area parent, Susan Wilson agreed. "There was so much chaos and confusion, it was terrible. I don't want to pick a fight, I just want what's best for my kids."
Both women agreed bus drivers were doing the best they could under the circumstances, and said most parents were thankful drivers were going out of their way to help ease the youngsters into the new situation.
Some bus drivers showed up last month at a school board meeting to complain to Superintendent Lloyd Evans that they didn't know what route they would have, and were concerned that if he waited until the last minute to give them their new assignments, they would be unfamiliar with the roads, and unable to get kids back and forth on time.
Some parents showed up at last night's board meeting and wanted to talk about their concerns, but said they did not understand at what point during the meeting they would get a chance to address the board.
They approached an Ironton Tribune reporter with their concerns while the board met in an executive session.
Rock Hill Elementary Principal Freddie Evans said he was aware of some problems the first day, but said he said all the problems had been ironed out.
"It's a new school, new surroundings, and kids don't know where they're supposed to go. But it's been taken care of."
Teacher aide Lisa Anderson echoed that sentiment. "The first day there were probably 300 parents dropping kids off, and people were parking everywhere, parking in the wrong places. As time goes on, its going to get better."
The new school opened its doors to students for the first time Monday.
Approximately 1,000 children attend the new elementary that replaced four smaller facilities. Teresa