As 2017-18 school classes kicked off Thursday, transportation was mostly smooth in York County school districts.
As with most first days, however, there were a few kinks.
Fort Mill, where a brand new middle school opened, had one delayed bus, but mostly stayed on schedule, said Jenny Overman, spokesperson for the district.
Clover and York schools also had some late arrivals, but overall had a smooth run, according to the districts.
The Rock Hill school district had challenges with specialized routes.
On Wednesday, the district posted on social media the pick-up times for school-of-choice riders and special needs bus riders. The process is similar to what has been done in the past and will smooth out in the first few days of school, said Mychal Frost, district spokesperson.
Thursday, bus routes for school of choice riders begin picking up students at 6 a.m. at their homes and taking them to the Transportation Center to board a bus for their school, according to the district. Starting next Tuesday, the district will provide tags to students. The tags will help officials identify what bus they need to board at the Transportation Center, Frost said. It’s the same process used last year.
At 5:45 a.m., special needs bus routes begin picking up students at their homes -- a time some parents said was too early.
Frost said 5:45 is the time the bus leaves the Transportation Center and many variables determine when children are picked up. More consistent pick-up times should become available as the district learns which students need service and iron out the routes, he said.
“We have to know who needs transportation in order to provide it,” Frost said.
Wednesday’s announcement confused some parents.
One parent posted on Rock Hill schools’ Facebook page: “Unacceptable Rock Hill Schools, it is literally the night before school, special needs kids and school of choice kids need the most notice.”
A representative with the district responded:
“We understand. Information was to be available at schools for pickup. This evening we learned some families either did not receive or did not know how special needs and school of choice buses would run so we got messaging out as soon as we could this evening and in as many places as we could. The (special needs) and (school of choice) routes are some of our most complex routes and are subject to change. We will communicate directly to (those) families when changes are made.”
School of choice and special needs buses pick students up at their home. This only applies to students attending a school of choice they are not zoned for and tho who attend a school for special needs, according to the district.
Rock Hill schools began offering transportation for school of choice students in 2016-17, Frost said. Those routes, along with special needs routes, are offered in addition to state-funded regular bus transportation.
“If we are truly to offer a choice program, we have to assist children in getting here, and not allow transportation to be a barrier,” Frost said at the time.
Routes for regular bus transportation are posted on the Rock Hill school district’s website. The district does not publish special needs and school of choice routes as they would include student addresses, Frost said.
A district post to Facebook reads: “The process will definitely smooth out and times will become more firm. We ask for your patience as routes and times are ironed out over the first few days. Each new day will be better.”
Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082
Parents with questions should call transportation at 803-980-2021, 803-980-2022 or 803-980-2023. Parents can also E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Routes for regular bus transportation are posted on the Rock Hill school district’s website.