Busing complaints draw lengthy response from Northwest Local superintendent

Parents concerned about bus problems

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - Dozens of parents are raising concerns after busing issues in the Northwest Local School District.

DeAnna Austin says her 4-year-old son gets bused to and from Houston Elementary School.

"The bus is consistently late for pick-up, which makes my son miss a part of the school day which is rough on him," said Austin who adopted Cayden when he was 6 months old.

Cayden was born addicted to drugs.

"Crystal meth, heroin, crack, marijuana, alcohol. just a whole assortment of drugs we probably still don't know the whole gamut," said Austin.

She says his rocky start to life makes routine crucial.

"We already go through enough. We are very busy with him. I don't need the bus as another problem," said Austin.

Cayden can't control when he has to use the restroom, a result of being born addicted to drugs. His mother says wait times can mean embarrassment on the bus.

"It's more than frustrating because for him already being delayed and having gone through a lot at birth it's kind of frustrating cause I don't feel like they're giving him a fair chance," said Austin.

FOX19 spoke with another parent who asked to remain anonymous. She says her 13-year-old daughter's bus that takes her to White Oak Middle School is regularly not on time.

"As parents we should be able to have trust in (the district) with our children and that doesn't happen," she said.

The bus her daughter rides was involved in a collision with a car Wednesday morning.

She can't drive her daughter to school because she has to driver her son to the high school, which does not provide busing.

Both parents want better communication between them and the district. They said this is not the first school year they've had to deal with bus issues.

The other mother says last year the district lost her son saying the bus driver dropped him off at the wrong location and she didn't know where he was for hours. FOX19 reached out to the district superintendent, Todd Bowling, for comment and received the following statement:

The budget was not what caused the transportation issues over the first five days of school for grades K-5.  We have had a number of changes that have impacted the way we transport students. Last school year we went through a redistricting process in lieu of the fact that we closed five elementary schools with approximately 450-500 students per building, and built three new state-of-the-art 900 student elementary schools.  With the changes in locations, we now bus over 6,000 students. In addition, we have three tiers of busing routes that impact the timing of our buses. We also have a large parochial student base that receives transportation from the school district.

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