News and Headlines

Actions

Martinsville bus drivers say new routes are unsafe for students

Posted at 9:05 PM, Aug 10, 2017

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. – School bus drivers in Martinsville expressed concern to the district superintendent Thursday stating they felt their new bus routes were unsafe for students.

With more than 5,000 students attending school in the district, drivers said the new routes kept students on the buses longer and are unsafe.

“It’s the fact that we went from routes that were a half an hour to an hour if not more for these kids,” said Brandy Arthur who’s been driving for 18 years. “You were on a road by yourself at one point in time, and now we’re crossing paths with other buses.”

Drivers met with Superintendent Michele Moore about their concerns Thursday at the end of the school day.

“What I want is for it go back to how they had it before,” said Arthur. “It was safer, the kids weren’t on the bus as long and it’s not benefiting them any as far as the mileage or the fuel.”

District officials said bus changes will begin next week. 

The district sent the following letter home to parents on Thursday:

Dear Artesian Families,

We were hoping to accommodate families by changing our bus route service to include two goals: 

1) add walkers to buses 

2) put the same age of students together on buses. 

Beginning in February 2017, we hired True Consultant Service to implement this task to be ready for this academic year. True Consultant Service was highly recommended to us, and we attempted to create a new busing system to meet the needs of our parents. Unfortunately, the company was not able to accommodate us. We found out recently that both Munice and Perry Township Schools have experienced the same problems with the same company.

Our transportation director, his team, our technology team, and I worked over the weekend to manually assign bus numbers and routes to students because our consultant did not route all of our students. During this time we were repeatedly assured from our consultant service that remaining routes would be ready for the first day of school. They were not.

This week, our technology and administrative teams continued to work endlessly on assisting parents with bus questions while our transportation director and I worked to continue to assign students to bus routes. Our bus drivers worked hard to meet the changing needs of adding new students to routes each day.

At this time, we still have students to route, several of our buses are overcrowded, students are on buses for too long, and some pickup and drop-off locations are not deemed appropriate for students. We have listened to parents' and bus drivers' concerns and felt their frustration. After a meeting with our bus drivers, principals, and our transportation director, we all have decided to return to our bus route system from previous years.

Utilizing our previous busing system means that students in K-4 and students in grades 5-12 will ride together. Unfortunately, it also means that if a student was considered a walker to school last year, then at this time, they would again walk to school.

We realize that many parents will be unhappy with these changes as they wholeheartedly expressed their concerns about buses and their children who walk to school. Please know that we will work with bus drivers to incorporate age appropriate seat assignments to students. For example, Bell Intermediate students assigned to the front of the bus, John R. Wooden Middle School students in the middle and high school students in the back. For walkers, we will investigate how to include them on routes as we are able.

Our transportation and administration departments still have to finalize bus route details before we set a start date. We will contact you as soon as that date is selected.

I want to thank you for your patience during this time.

Best,

Dr. Michele Moore

Superintendent

MSD of Martinsville