News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, Aug. 23, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Tuesday, he faces the parents, but first he had to tell school board members what went wrong. The director of Richmond County schools transportation answered questions in a meeting Monday evening.
"Transportation has greatly improved and we are still we are still trying to do everything that we can to make it better for all of our children," said Director Jimmie Wiley.
Wiley is the man a lot of parents want answers from and has some explaining to do. Parents want to know why some students are picked up late and dropped off even later.
"The message that we would like to send to parents is that we ask that they be a little patient and we are sorry that we were late and we are doing everything that we can," he said.
Like what? That is what Cynthia Harris wants to know. She said she refuses to put her son on the bus because it always late and he misses instruction time.
"This is a total joke," she said. "I have called down to the transportation office everyday at least four times to get answers."
Harris said she's disappointed that the buses are still late weeks into the school year.
Wiley said the transportation department is struggling with several issues including new bus routes for magnet schools, overcrowding and a shortage of drivers.
"There are cuts to our budget so we are trying to do more with less," Wiley said.
"Everyone knows the transportation department is short-handed and we doing our best to work with them and get people hired and behind these buses," said Jimmy Atkins, a school board member.
But that takes time -- time Atkins and several other board members say was not planned out before the first day of school.
"Its not like the school year just came all of a sudden out of now where," Harris said. "They had the whole summer to prepare."
Board members agree. They believe the transportation department dropped the ball. However, at the end of the day, they are a team working together to make the school year run smoothly.
There will be an open forum meeting Tuesday night at the Board of Education meeting. Parents are asked to submit their questions via email by 2 p.m. Tuesday or at the beginning of the meeting.
Questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.