Roanoke City Public Schools parents speak out about continued bus delays

Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 9:55 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Parent concerns continue to grow over Roanoke City Public Schools (RCPS) bus delays.

One mom is calling on the school district for solutions.

”It really seems like parents are really mad this year because it was supposed to be fixed,” Sara Dollman said.

Dollman has two kids in RCPS, one in middle school and one in high school. Throughout her years in the district, she explained this school year is seeing the most delays.

“They’re saying ‘Oh no, we’re fully staffed. We have enough buses, there won’t be any double routes, and oh, we changed the bell schedule. This is going to fix everything’,” Dollman said. “Then when the first week of school was worse than it has ever been, parents went ballistic because we’re just tired of it.”

Now a few weeks into school, Sara’s daughter is still coming home late.

“It’s like you can’t make a doctor’s appointment for after school because you don’t know if your kid will be home in time to get them there,” Dollman said.

RCPS adjusted bus routes to avoid overlap after the first week. But Dollman explained the current routes are still an issue for some families.

“My daughter’s bus drops the Patrick Henry students off at 8:15 a.m. and is then supposed to be over starting her route over here in southwest by 8:25 a.m.,” Dollman said. “There’s no way the bus can get from Patrick Henry in 10 minutes with all that school traffic. It’s just impossible.”

RCPS responded to WDBJ7′s request for comment in a statement.

“We are seeing and continue to see improvements in transportation, day by day, and overall, while we are not yet where we want to be, delays are decreasing,” communications coordinator Claire Mitzel said. “Central Office staff is working to support transportation and to help identify other efficiencies that will continue to improve our route timing. As these are identified, we will post changes to the website and will communicate directly with students and families.”

Officials also stated they are looking for opportunities to shorten routes that are running longer, but did not share specific details about what those solutions may be.

“We’ve been waiting since 2018 for them to fix it. That’s what we’re told every year,” Dollman said. “We’ve lost our patience with it.”

Dollman and other RCPS parents are planning to bring their concerns to the school board at the upcoming September meeting.