By Steve Sbraccia
For a group of 4th graders at Raleigh’s Hunter Elementary; the first day of school never seemed to end.
Nearly two hours after classes concluded, the kids were still waiting for a bus that never came.
For the mother of one of those students, her day ended the same way it began.
“We had three buses in our neighborhood that never showed up this morning,” said frustrated parent Amy Lee.
With nearly 60 fewer buses out on routes this school year because of budget cuts, there were many reports of bus mix-ups on Monday.
But for Amy Lee, it was double trouble for her son Harrison and daughter Heather.
“Her bus never showed up and my son’s bus to Ligon never showed up which we found out later went to a different stop than we were told would be,” explained Lee.
She says school transportation sent the family a letter saying their bus stop was at Overlook and Ivy Lane, but in reality it was actually here at Ivy and Millbrook; that’s 3/10 of a mile away and not anywhere in sight of the original bus stop.
Harrison Lee said it was about a four or five minute walk, “add the fact that I have a 20 pound back-pack and didn’t make that any easier.”
And things didn’t get any better for the Lee family when school ended, because 9-year-old Heather was left behind along with at least 10 other kids who also rode the same bus to North Raleigh.
School was dismissed at 3:50 p.m., but at least one bus never showed up.
“The school called, it was about ten past 5 p.m., saying there are five buses that should be getting to the school soon to pick up the kids,” said Amy Lee. “I then get a call from my daughter on her teacher’s cell phone at 5:45 saying ‘mom I’m still here, the bus still hasn’t come.’”
“The whole route was still here,” explained Heather. “All my friends were calling their parents because they were worried.”
Amy Lee can understand bus stop confusion on the first day of school in some neighborhoods, but she can’t understand not having buses at the school to pick up kids at the end of the day.
“In the seven years that my children have been in school it’s never been this bad,” she declared.
Amy says she’ll be looking for a lot of answers from school transportation officials on Tuesday, once she’s sure her kids have been able get to school on time.