Par­ents raise bus­ing con­cerns

Car­bon­ear Acad­emy to look at ‘courtesy seat­ing’ for stu­dents

The Compass - - NEWS - BYMELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

Of­fi­cials with the English School Dis­trict of New­found­land and Labrador con­firm there are stu­dents at Car­bon­ear Acad­emy who have not been able to have ac­cess to a bus.

Par­ents of stu­dents at the school said their chil­dren are not per­mit­ted to use the buses for trans­porta­tion to day­care or a babysit­ter’s house.

Al­though this should only be tem­po­rary, the par­ents have al­ready ex­pressed frus­tra­tion with the lack of co-op­er­a­tion from the school, school board and bus con­trac­tors.

One par­ent, who wished not to be named, told The Com­pass that dur­ing a meet­ing for par­ents of kinder­garten­ers, they were told they would only be con­sid­ered for “courtesy seat­ing” if space per­mits.

Courtesy seat­ing is when buses al­low stu­dents — in­clud­ing those be­fore the 1.6 kilo­me­tre bus limit — to take a dif­fer­ent bus than their own. It is not guar­an­teed.

“Gen­er­ally, most schools can­not of­fer courtesy seat­ing un­til mid-to­late Septem­ber when en­rol­ment is sta­ble and bus routes are fi­nal­ized,” said Ken Mor­ris­sey, di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the school board. “That is the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion for Car­bon­ear Acad­emy as the school ad­min­is­tra­tion is still fi­nal­iz­ing bus routes and seat­ing for stu­dents.”

Par­ents said they were told it could be Oc­to­ber be­fore any­thing would be done, which has left some par­ents with­out ve­hi­cles or with work com­mit­ments scram­bling to find trans­porta­tion ar­range­ments.

The Com­pass has learned a phone tree has started for some of those af­fected so par­ents can al­ter­nate pick­ing the chil­dren up so they don’t have to leave work early ev­ery day.

Some stu­dents at­tend day­care af­ter school. But Mor­ris­sey ex­plained the chil­dren are “gen­er­ally” placed on a bus based on their home ad­dress.

In other words, ar­rang­ing for a child to be per­ma­nently as­signed to a bus that does not bring them home may be un­likely.

The mother whom The Com- pass spoke with said she lives at the top of the hill from her son’s day­care. She said she has been de­nied an ad­di­tional stop at the bot­tom, so now she has to be home ev­ery day to walk him down the road.

“I’m lucky that I live so close to my day­care,” she ex­plained. “For most par­ents this is a to­tal night­mare as leav­ing work to pick up your kids isn’t al­ways go­ing to be fea­si­ble.”

The school board could not give an ex­act date that the sit­u­a­tion will be fig­ured out, but have con­firmed, “the school is work­ing with par­ents/guardians and the bus con­trac­tor to fi­nal­ize th­ese routes.”

Photo by Melissa Jenk­ins/Spe­cial to The Com­pass

Some par­ents have voiced con­cerns about not be­ing able to have their chil­dren bused to day­care cen­tres or babysit­ter’s homes af­ter school from Car­bon­ear Acad­emy.

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