School board member calls bus problems "unacceptable" - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

School board member calls bus problems "unacceptable"

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Unacceptable.

It's how one school board member describes the bus service during the first two days of the Shelby County school year.

David Reaves tells FOX13 budget cuts may be the main reason this new bus schedule has gotten failing grades from parents.

Tuesday night, we learned the bus service was flawed from the beginning.

The wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round, and so are the excuses parents get from school administrators about the problems with bus service for students. "They've had a long time to get their act together and prepare. In any job, you're supposed to be prepared and especially when dealing with children. This is completely unacceptable," said parent Christie Taylor.

Dozens of parents posted similar complaints about the routes, tardiness and even driver attitudes on our myfoxmemphis Facebook page.

School board member David Reaves told us, "They have a valid point. They do have a valid point. It is not acceptable."

Reaves says budget cuts are one of the main reasons for some of the bus-tration. Routes had to be cut to increase rider ship. Outsourcing some of the service and even extending the distance students have to walk to catch a bus all have caused chaos.

"Unfortunately, the trade-off for that is we have seen a significant drop off in service levels," said Reaves.

Then, there is the issue of no one at School Transportation to answer calls from angry parents. We tried to get through from our FOX13 Newsroom, but were not successful. Reaves says temporary employees will be hired to answer the phones, but it will take them a few days to get them on board.        

Reaves says, "The real reason why we are even standing here (talking about this) today is because we had to close a 60 million dollar gap that we inherited from the City of Memphis, and you know we did it? We did it by closing bus services, we did it by…what we are going to do over the next few days, we are going to get it solved."

One solution could be to add more money to the school budget to increase the number of buses and drivers. But, that could be difficult, considering how hard it was to get this year's budget passed.

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