Parents raise busing concerns
Carbonear Academy to look at ‘courtesy seating’ for students
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.”
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.