FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Parents of students in the Fort Wayne Community School District are worried for their child’s safety after busses were behind on picking them up for school last Friday. 23 drivers called in sick delaying the bus routes. Frustrated parents are looking for answers.

Adam Jones has five daughters, two of which are students in Middle School. Last Friday after waiting an hour at the bus stop, they came back home.

“There needs to be protocol in place, when there’s a snow day or a two hour delay, when the school is closed they text us. They preach about kids safety, our kids weren’t safe Friday, that’s for sure,” Jones says passionately.

Jones ended up taking his daughters out of school for the remainder of the semester. He still wants answers.

“I went to the school, I went downtown to be face to face because when you call them on the phone they are rude and angry with you and don’t get anywhere. I wanted them to answer questions and be accountable for what they’ve done,” Jones claims.

He is disappointed and believes in the amount of time his children waited for a bus, students could have been kidnapped, ran away or gotten in trouble.

Krista Stockman with FWCS says that the school is short 80 drivers everyday.

When 23 drivers called off, “that exasperated the problem that we have everyday anyway of not having enough drivers for all of our routes,” Stockman says.

Stockman says, although there were routes missed, the buses didn’t forget about the students.

“We did eventually go out and run all the routes to make sure there were no kids left behind. There were some kids that did not make it school that day. Parents had to drive kids to school that day, but that was an excused absence for the students as long as their parents called.”

Stockman says that they are always looking for new drivers, but they are also looking for other ways to improve the efficiency of bus transportation.

“We have been working on looking at our routes and trying to find some efficiencies and rerouting,” Stockman explains. Combining routes is an option. The routing software company is working with the school for this to happen by the beginning of the next school year.

Another concern FWCS has hear from parents is the lack of communication for late busses. “We’ve had a system for years but it’s very labor intensive,” Stockman explains. Staffing and automated notifications are being researched and looked into.

She goes on to say that the district will be asking parents if they still want their child picked up by a bus. FWCS has sent out questionnaire in years past, but have not cleaned up those lists recently. The district will be asking parents three questions:

  1. Do you need transportation?
  2. Do you need transportation in the morning?
  3. Do you need transportation in the afternoon?

For additional questions or concerns, contact the transportation office for Fort Wayne Community Schools.