Calcasieu Parish Parents & Children Struggle With New School Bus Routes
Parents are furious with the Calcasieu Parish School Board Department of Transportation over last minute changes with school bus routes. A lot of parents learned the first or second day of school, that if they lived a mile from the school, their child could no longer ride the school bus. One parent told us, "my son was basically stranded at the school!" she continued "He called me at work and said the driver told him he couldn't ride, because he wasn't on the roster. I was at work! There was nothing I could do?" Yes, they live within a mile of the school. Yes, her son could have walked home. However the school's location, makes walking home an extremely dangerous task for children. Heck it's dangerous for adults. Lake Charles is growing, and it's obvious the cities new residents have compiled this
The CPSB has reportedly been short on bus drivers for a while. Lake Charles is growing, and it's obvious the cities new residents have magnified this issue. While this is being rectified KPLC reports normal bus routes have changed, with little to no notice to parents, and a one-mile radius rule is being implemented parish wide. For some parents it's a nightmare.
Children who do ride buses are either getting to school late (which results in a tardy,) or home between 4 and 6 p.m., because drivers have several loads each day. CPSB told KPLC they are aware of the problem, and offered the following statement to area parents dealing with the problem:
"The Calcasieu Parish School Board is aware of this particular situation. This is a personnel issue and is already being handled by the Transportation Department. With the transportation of around 16,000 students daily, the late arrival of buses to our schools can happen for various reasons. However, frequent tardiness on a particular route or of a particular bus will not be tolerated. We have a system in place that closely monitors the arrival time of each bus at our schools. Steps were already being taken to correct this particular situation. In any instance that a bus does arrive late to one of our campuses, students are provided breakfast and are not marked tardy."
See the CPSB Utilizing New Transportation Routing System for more details on how to navigate the bus stops. One parent complained that her son, who has a severe case of Autism, stood in one spot for hours after being put off the bus. Normally he would be let off in front of his house, but the drivers bus route was changed to accommodate additional stops. All the kid knew to say when the bus stopped was, "That's not my house." The driver said, "I'm sorry, but I don't turn that way anymore, you have to get off here." So the kid got off the school bus, and literally stood in one spot. A neighbor noticed him, and help the child walk home. Thank God it wasn't raining. Thank God a child predictor didn't notice him first. Thank God he didn't take off walking and got lost.
The "new school bus routes" are also creating huge problems for the students and parents at Nelson Elementary School, which is located at 1001 Country Club Rd. This school is not only on a very busy roadway, but there's no sidewalks on either side of the road. To make matters worse the grass is tall in some areas, and there's big ditches in others. Can you imagine your 7-year old walking on the side of this busy road, with a heavy backpack? Even worse, what if it's raining?
Nelson parents that can drop-off/pick-up their kids, also complained about there being no sidewalks. The overflow of vehicles have to park in the nearby shopping center parking lot. Parents then have to walk within steps of oncoming traffic to get to, and from the school. Getting struck by a car is a real threat even for adults. One Nelson parent told us she was stopped by police, while walking her child home. The officer told her they couldn't walk on the side of the road like that, because it was to dangerous. However this parent doesn't have a car, and she's a single mother. How else does she get her daughter to and from school, if she can't ride the bus anymore?
For questions and concerns pertaining to the "new school bus routes," contact the CPSB Department of Transportation Director, Mary Bass @ (337)217-4330 ext. 5401 (firstname.lastname@example.org.) or call any official in CPSB Department of Transportation registry for more information. Parents affected by the 1 mile radius rule, can fill-out the Walk-Zone Hardship Waiver.