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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Transportation Woes

So just when we get the school situation (mostly) figured out (we'll have another IEP meeting in a couple of weeks to see how things are going and to go over the goals) we now have an issue with the bus transportation.

Sunday evening I received a call from the driver stating she received the request to put Kayla on her route; she was calling to let me know what time pick-up would be.

Pick up time was scheduled to be ... 5:45 ... yes, 5:45 in the morning. Excuse me while I pick my jaw up from the floor. I confirmed with her, "quarter to SIX?"

She explained Kayla would be the 3rd child on the route and they have a lot of kids this year that need to be transported and need to get them to school at 7 (school starts at 7:25). The school is 15 min away (just driving straight there and not during school start/end times).

Besides the fact that Kayla would be on the bus for an hour and 15 min, this would mean that she would have to be up at 5 o'clock at the latest. That's not happening. I am not having my 7 yr old child wake up at 5 to catch a bus at 5:45, to make it to school around 7. That's unacceptable.

If Kayla is waking up that early, and sitting on a bus for over an hour, I really don't think she's going to be in the right mindset to start her day off by sitting in a classroom, expected to pay attention and focus. She's going to be restless with pent up energy, or tired. She might fall back to sleep on the bus, but there is no guarantee she would get that 'extra' sleep.

And how would her day go after that? She would probably feel like crashing after lunch. And be too tired to pay attention or do any work at that time either.

Speaking of lunch - if she's up at 5 eating breakfast how hungry do you think she is going to be at lunch time, which is noon? They do have a morning snack (not sure what time though) but I'm sure she'll be hungry.

So I'm taking Kayla to school for right now (the driver said the timing might change somewhat after the first week to see how things actually run). I'm letting her come home on the bus in the afternoon because I know she really enjoys riding the bus. The afternoon trip is still an hour and 10-15 min too. And no air conditioning.

Yesterday the driver told me she talked to her supervisor about all the kids they have and was told they don't have another bus to use to make two routes.

I asked if I was the only parent that complained about this early pick-up time and was told yes. To her knowledge no one else has said anything. I can't believe no other parents have an issue with the oh-dark-thirty pick-up time. The driver also said the first child that was on her list transferred to another district so Kayla would now be 2nd in line for pick up - which meant that she would be picked up even earlier. I didn't understand that, because if the first kid isn't on the route now, that is one less stop to make, so why would pick up time be even earlier?

I wish I had the grounds to fight this by saying she can't be on the bus for more than an hour, but South Carolina state law states a student may not ride the bus for any longer than 90 consecutive minutes. An hour and a half is acceptable?! Who comes up with this stuff?

So in the meantime we leave the house about 645, which means I now have to wake Lucas up early, much earlier than he would normally be awake. Yes I want some cheese with my whine on that topic. That frustrates me too - having to wake him up that early. He doesn't nap any more and it shows as the day wears on.

This isn't the end though; I will be talking to someone at transportation, and at the school, and the special ed department. If they have that many kids on the bus they need to find another bus and driver and aide somewhere, somehow.


RK said...

Yeah, no way in the world. I am blown away that school starts at 7 or shortly after! That would never fly with us, let alone the bus time. You're totally right to push for another solution. That's ridiculous. And I totally feel your pain in waking Lucas up early. That is no fun.

I hope you can get something mutually acceptable worked out. What a bummer! I still can't believe NO other parent has an issue with that timing!

Anonymous said...

If school starts at 7:25, why does she have to be there 25 minutes before school starts? That doesn't make sense either.

Bailey's Leaf said...

5:45 AM is insane and not human to ask any kid to be up and out like that, much less a 7 year old. I recall the high school bus arriving at 7:00 AM on the dot to get me there by 7:30, when class started.

However, the self transportation thing isn't new to us. We live too close to the school for bus privilege and we walk. School starts at 8:30, but often we leave at 7:45 AM, as sometimes we slog through the snow/rain, see a passing leaf . . .

I am laughing about the "and no A/C." Um, we survived bus rides without it. Bless your heart. That one I wouldn't sweat so much. (And I didn't even mean to make a pun out of that.)

Look at this as an opportunity to tweak with Lucas' schedule. Bummer to get him up, but in the city here, it's kind of what we have to do. I see many people with a gaggle of children in tow. It'll work out better than you think. You just have to get into a rhythm with it.

Good luck. It'll all be fine, I promise!

Ellen said...

whoa. 5:45 wouldn't be okay in my house. There's no way you were the only parent to complain.

samylaine said...

it's horrible.. when my Nate started school in Texas last year.. the bus ride too school wasnt the problem it was the ride home...
they left the school at 3 pm and he didnt get home until 545 pm.. that was unacceptable to me.. he only rode the bus one day.. i took him and picked him up after that.. he was 4!!

Anne and Whitney: Up, Down and All Around said...

lots of things do not seem to make any logical sense with what is going on w/ transportation (pick up time, arrival at school 25 min. before it actually starts, etc...) i hope you can get some sort of resolution - i cannot believe that 90 minutes one way is acceptable for a kid to travel to or from school!!!!!!!! sorry you have to get lucas up so early so that you can take kayla - but that extra hour in the morning to sleep is obviously huge. let us know what you find out from transportation!!!

Kelli said...

Holy crap. Can I tell you how I feel when I have to get up between 5 and 6am? I can't fathom how they think this is appropriate for a 7 year old!?! I hope you get this all straightened out!

Lacey said...

Wow, that is one early school for a 7 year old. Our elementary starts at 8:25. I can't believe they want to pick her up that early. I'm sure other parents have issues. Maybe they are too chicken to speak up!

Heidi said...

Wow, that is totally unacceptable! As I teacher, I would not want kids coming to school after a long bus ride and as a parent would be sure to express my thoughts to anyone and everyone who would listen! I agree who comes up with this? Good luck and hope she has a wonderful year!

Finding Normal said...

Is this a special ed bus, or a regular bus? It makes a HUGE difference. We fought this battle last year....if it's a special ed bus, IDEA (I'm 99% sure that was the article I referenced when fighting our district since Indiana has no time limit for anyone) states that special ed students must not be on the bus longer than regular ed students going to the same location. So, if it's a special ed bus, she shouldn't be on any longer than typical kids going to their home school. Keep going up the food chain if it's a special ed bus! (Even if it's not, that is crazy ridiculous, but there may not be much you can do). They can also be forced to reimburse you for mileage at the going rate if they can't meet her needs in a suitable manner. If it's a special ed bus, look into your state's support network for parents of kids with special needs. They'll have an attorney on staff who can consult with you, or you can at least tell the school that "your" attorney is looking into things. ;)
I don't understand why she needs to be there 25 minutes early. (Or why your school starts so freaking early!!!) Our schools start at 8:00. High school routes run at 6:45 for a 7:30 start. I would also be calling my school board representative to ask them if riding a bus at that time would be okay for their child, much less if the child had special needs.
HMPH. I'm frustrated for you. Do not just give up and let them walk on you about this, (again) esp if it's a special ed route. We fought this fight last year and WON. They re-worked the entire early childhood network. Addi is now on the bus for 15 minutes of a morning, instead of 75!
Feel free to email me findingnormal08 at yahoo dot com if you want more info on our fight! :)

Finding Normal said...

Forgot to say...afterwards her teacher told me that she'd had lots of parents gasp and complain over the years, but no one actually challenged them. They just drove their kids. That truly wasn't an option for us, since I work and Shawn travels 75% of the time.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is ditto! Ridiculously early start time for school and you are dead on about the sleep!

Lacia said...

That is just total and complete craziness!!! I don't think anything more than 1/2 hour on a bus is acceptable, unless of course the school is 1/2 hour away. I can't beleive no one else is complaining. I bet they are, but the bus company isn't admitting it in hopes you will back down.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

Oh my word that's just crazy!! Our highschoolers don't get picked up that early. We live in the country and the boys would have an hour bus ride too. And they have actually have to change buses at one point. So I drive too (not to mention the fact that I don't know if they train the bus driver in the use of the EPI pen...). The drive to school isn't too bad but the drive home is extra long. They get out at 3:00 pm but wouldn't get home until 4:10 pm. It really makes the day extra long for them.
I can't believe no other parent has an issue with their child being picked up at 5:45 AM. That's just nuts.

The Girls' Mommy said...

Call! Call! Call! I think that's NUTS! That happened here, and it wasn't mearly that bad (7am for an 8am start) and in the end the bus driving understood that Abs was the youngest on the bus and turned her route around to pick her up almost last. And I agree with "Finding Normal" about comparing the bus times. Good luck!

Mary said...

That's terrible! I would definitely be driving her there too!

Amy said...

Wow! That's crazy. I know we have similar issues at my school with our special ed buses too - but we have 3 or 4 of them to.

It really is crazy and I would fight it all the way if I were you!

chelle said...

wow school starts early! We do not have to be at school here till 8:50! Egads on the bus time too .... good luck with the school and transport people

Christina said...

That's a bummer :-( I hope everything works out for you. I have to be at work at 7am and it's 30 mins away so my kids have to be up at 5:45am so that I can get us out of the house on time and everyone dropped off before going to work. They do alright with it, but they are in bed by 7pm!

Oh and an HOUR on the bus is unacceptable!!!