Opening day brings bus struggles for Wake schools

Opening day brings bus struggles for Wake schools (Image 1)

By Annette Newell

Monday marked the first day of school for 105,000 Wake County traditional calendar students.

But it didn't go off without some serious headaches related to busing across the county.

NBC-17 started getting calls early Monday morning. Parents and students said they waited as long as an hour for a bus to arrive.

Many of them finally gave up and drove their kids to school.

A worker patiently answered a parent’s question on the phone at the transportation headquarters for Wake County Public School System in Cary.

“We're going try to rectify that this afternoon,” she said.

She and others have been answering hundreds of calls and emails asking about buses.

“I spent four hours on the phone, talking with parents, a lot of parents calling in,” said spokeswoman Cris Mulder.

She works for the school system and says the delays affected her family too.

“I've got two middle schoolers – they were out this morning out at their bus stops and they were texting and letting me know, 'Hey the bus isn't here, oh the bus is here,” said Mulder.

She said it's a problem that happens every year, but this year poses some special challenges: the district is working with 40-60 fewer buses to save money in order to meet a state mandate for efficiency.

At the same time, Wake's explosive growth has brought an extra 4,000 students to the school system this year.

For now, the Wake School System is asking parents and students for patience.

“Over these next couple weeks, maybe even two to three weeks, we just ask our parents to sit tight,” said Mulder.

About 75,000 children ride the bus to school in Wake County each day.

If your child is one of them and you have questions, you can go to the school system's website and fill out a form.

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