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Plymouth-Canton Addresses Busing Issues

District has experienced busing woes in first month of school year.

Plymouth-Canton identified some of its busing issues thus far this school year and has drafted a plan of action to remedy the problems.

Phil Freeman, the district's assistant superintendent for facilities and operations, said the district was faced with a shortage of drivers in the weeks before the 2012-13 scool year, necessitating new hires, and dealt with other obstaclces, such as road construction and busing added this year for the Starkweather alternative high school program and a second Talented and Gifted (TAG) school, Dodson Elementary.

Freeman presented his findings Tuesday to the Plymouth-Canton Board of Education after problems were brought to the board on Sept. 11 by Isbister Elementary parent Melissa Uhl, who reported missed pickups on the first two days of school, a kindergarten student being dropped off at the wrong bus stop, late pick-ups and drop-offs and a rotating door of substitute bus drivers in the first seven days of the school year.

Freeman cited the shortage of drivers as the underlying reason behind the busing inadequacies so far this year, with a turnover of 55 drivers in the past year, including 15 who left in the two weeks before school started. He said hiring for new drivers will continue throughout the school year.

Additionally, Freeman said, drivers face unpredictable driving each day because of students running late, traffic, construction and other variable factors. 

Freeman said the district will factor the impact on transportation when creating new programs and activities.

Work remains for the district, however, Freeman said, including a thorough analysis of the district's transportation system compared with a similar-sized district. Freeman said in total, district buses transport 10,000 students a total of 1.75 million miles per school year.

Emily Florence October 11, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Brake checks?!?! Seriously? Wow. I have heard that the screaming by drivers is at an all time high from the students on the bus. The drivers do not care. They come and simply do the minimum job to take a paycheck home. They are contract - they have no vested interest in these kids. The transportation office does not answer the phone nor do they return calls. Excellent customer service (yes, we are the customers, and the district consistently fails to recognize this tidbit). We have rampant abuse on the buses, too, and one parent was told that the school cannot control what happens on the bus, especially the back of the bus, so tell you kids to sit in front. Really? THAT is the solution? We have bullies ruling the bus, running the back with no consequences. We have drivers doing brake checks and yelling at kids for standing up but not for beating the tar out of kids. This is ridiculous. I am so glad we are saving a few bucks for this (lack of) service.
jim October 12, 2012 at 10:06 PM
lets talk about busing... THE REASON WE HAVE TO YELL IS THAT WE NEED TO BE LOUDER THAN YOUR KIDS!!! Do you realize to be hired the new drivers had to pay to be fingerprinted and be submitted for a FBI criminal background check, & Drug Screen! go through hours of Bus Driving Training ,and pass a 2 hour driving skills test Administered by the State! and Pass Michigan Secretary of States knowldge testing and federal D.O.T. testing and have a SPOTLESS driving record to begin with ! Once they are drivers attend 30 hours of state drivers training , Pass a Federal Department of Transportation Pysical and attend Bi annual continued education training The Drivers in the Plymouth-Canton District are and will always be some of the best drivers in the state! If you think the drivers should be district employees again pass a MILLAGE and INCREASE TAXES to PAY FOR IT! I would love to be a district employee and get full paid medical for my family without a huge co pay have 30 sick days paid per year! get paid for Hollidays, get a paid vacation Come On Plymouth Canton Voters Pass a millage !
Emily Florence October 14, 2012 at 10:27 PM
So Jim, let me get this straight...you are upset with the requirements to be hired and the training needed to be hired in order to transport our children? And if you were a district employee and had full paid medical and sick time, holidays, and paid vacation, THAT would then make you a more tolerant and better driver? Sorry, not buying it. If you take a job, you should put forth your best effort, period. You make it sound as if the drivers will be so much better if only they had better benefits. Perhaps I am misunderstanding you.
Darken October 20, 2012 at 07:32 AM
Ok, Jim, let's be straight, fingerprinting and background checks are nothing new. That is a state requirement. And you complaining about continuing ed and et al? Be real. If you have issues, I suggest you apply to Trinity who has a sign posted at 275 and Ann Arbor Rd, since the Plymouth-Canton Transportation Department took the signs down near Mill St. Apparently you are not what this community wants from it's drivers. However, I will say, the driver that is at Ridge and North Territorial at approximately 7:15 stops where they are supposed to, and is EXTREMELY courteous.
john nichols October 20, 2012 at 10:22 AM
Darken, sounds like your child rides the same bus as my child as we live there also

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