Stu­dents late to class af­ter route changes

Stu­dents ar­riv­ing late to school af­ter Main Roads-en­forced changes to routes

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - PHOTO: MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

A school bus op­ti­mi­sa­tion pro­gram has seen five buses re­moved from lo­cal bus routes. Ger­ard Russo is con­cerned for stu­dents’ ed­u­ca­tion as the new routes make the kids ar­rive at schools late.

PAR­ENTS across the Isis re­gion are in shock af­ter five buses were re­moved from lo­cal school runs.

The re­moval is part of a statewide “op­ti­mi­sa­tion” by the Depart­ment of Trans­port and Main Roads, which cites “pop­u­la­tion and other de­mo­graphic changes” as the rea­son­ing be­hind the move.

Lo­cal con­trac­tor South Bundy Buses is re­view­ing their timeta­bles, but have so far been forced to change their ser­vices.

Farns­field’s Ger­ard Russo brought the is­sue to the fore­front af­ter school went back last week, and said par­ents were given lit­tle to no no­tice of the change.

His main con­cern is the sched­ule, which has left stu­dents in some cases to ar­rive af­ter the morn­ing bell had rung.

“We’ve got kids get­ting to school late for roll and that just cre­ates more prob­lems,” Mr Russo said.

Mr Russo’s three chil­dren go to Isis Dis­trict State High School, and their pre­vi­ous morn­ing trip would usu­ally take about 15 min­utes.

“They’d leave here at 8.10 and get there about 8.25,” he said. “Now the bus comes at 7.50 and they’re not get­ting there un­til about 8.40.

“They’re all rush­ing when they get there and I can’t see how that helps their learn­ing.”

His con­cern isn’t just the im­pact on in-school learn­ing, with ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties af­fected by their late re­turn.

“What’s go­ing to hap­pen to their sport and mu­sic and other pro­grams?” he asked.

The de­ci­sion to re­move ser­vices was made last year, and Mr Russo said all his chil­dren knew was they were “get­ting a new bus”.

“We’ve never had a prob­lem un­til now,” Mr Russo said. “The whole sys­tem has changed.

“Some bus stops are com­pletely gone, and the kids now have to get to an­other stop.

“The pri­vate buses from Shalom are get­ting back here be­fore Childers and that’s twice as far.”

Mr Russo is not the only per­son experiencing the is­sue, with a pe­ti­tion be­ing cir­cu­lated from Tues­day.

A par­ent in Cordalba said her chil­dren had also ar­rived late to school, and also noted how there “seemed to be a lot more kids on buses”.

She said she re­ceived a let­ter to say there would be some changes, but the time her chil­dren were picked up would not be al­tered.

PHOTO: MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

NOT HAPPY: Ger­ard Russo and oth­ers are speak­ing out about school bus route changes.

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