The Churchill County School District Board of Trustees heard concerns from several parents at their Thursday night meeting regarding a busing issue the district that occurred the first two weeks of school.
Transportation Director Steve Russell admitted the first day of school didn’t go as planned. He said the problems were identified and were changed immediately so the same problem didn’t continue.
Russell said the district has returned to its original busing system and a new traffic pattern was designated at Lahontan Elementary School. He said if grants are approved, more improvements may come to Lahontan Elementary School to help alleviate traffic.
Updating the district’s roster with correct addresses of students help immensely with sorting out the problem, he said, and elementary students were given tags to identify which bus they board. He said bus drivers are continuing to practice their routes and have provided water on the bus.
Russell said the transportation department is somewhat short-handed at the moment but is hoping to get three new drivers soon. He said parents may request bus information that can be mailed, and he said his staff is working on getting a Facebook site that will have the bus routes and other information regarding the scheduling. The bus schedule is currently on the district website.
“Right now the perception of the transportation department doesn’t look very good,” he said. “We know there have been some programs that have worked for us and that we under went a huge operational change … we’re hopeful the new changes we made will work.”
Although the district administrators have informed parents of the changes that have been made, parents still say the problems have not been fixed.
Parent Rebecca Glinka has already voiced her concerns on the Fallon 411 Facebook page, but she also brought her concerns to the trustees. She said that it wasn’t just the first day that went wrong but problems entered into the second week of school.
“My children were dropped off at a gas station and made to walk home,” she said. “I also went and saw children waiting at elementary schools for 30-40 minutes for their buses with nothing to do … I challenge the trustees to go wait in the gym with the students and see what really goes on. The system is still a mess.”
Kim Cecil said her son was missing for two hours after school dismissed during the first week of school. Her son was found at the high school safe but frightened. She said her son wants a cellphone so he feels safe to ride the bus in case that incident ever happens again.
Nina Thompson said she doesn’t understand how the district didn’t see the disaster coming from changing the bus schedule.
“Why were you all not prepared?” she asked the trustees. “There is no excuse why children should have been left outside in the heat with no water. This is not the bus driver’s fault; it’s the district office and the transportation department’s fault. What you all did should be considered child endangerment.”
A few other parents addressed the trustees with their concerns; however, the trustees and Superintendent Dr. Sandra Sheldon did not address the parents publicly because of the public comments law; instead, parents were asked to leave their information with Sheldon so she could personally speak to the parents and answer their concerns.
The district assured the parents that the problems that caused the complications during the first few weeks of school have been addressed and fixed.
Other items that were discussed at the meeting included the following:
Made no motion regarding automated calls before budget hearings.
Discussed changes made by the 2015 legislature impacting school districts.