Dallas ISD warned parents that it might not be a yellow school bus picking up their kids at their stops on the first day of school Monday morning. Smaller routes, like those serving magnets, would be served by a contractor, which promised to shuttle students in a van, SUVs or sedan. So, not in the back of a pickup.
The district was quite proud of itself for arranging this. For the first time in several years, it covered every single one of its hundreds of bus routes.
But there were problems, as a WFAA story from last night details: Drivers were late; cars weren't labeled; parents were bothered by the idea of sending their young children in some random Suburban with a complete stranger. Some kids didn't get to school. Others didn't get home.
Mom says deaf son was picked up in a beat up car instead of school bus and forgotten after school. DISD contractor dropped the ball.
— Rebecca Lopez (@rlopezwfaa) August 27, 2013
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It was, in a word, a disaster that DISD is now doing its best to atone for. In a news release, the district explains that the use of cars is legal and often cheaper than buses. American Logistics Co., the contractor, trains and performs background checks on drivers and has spent several months working with the district on logistics, touring schools and contacting parents.
And then, the apology.
It was brought to the district's attention yesterday that several of the vehicles did not have clear identification causing understandable concern and confusion among parents and students. The district is committed to working with Dallas County Schools and ALC, the transportation provider, to alleviate these concerns.
By Friday, all of these vehicles will be easily identifiable on both sides of their vehicles as being official Dallas County transportation vehicles. Dallas ISD will continue to work with Dallas County to make adjustments so that all students and parents feel comfortable with their transportation.