SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A parent of a student in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System is asking for answers after her two children, who attend West Chatham Middle School, have missed school due to the bus not picking them up on time — or at all.
Maribel Torres’ daughter, Kimberly Carrion, spoke to News 3 about the issue on Thursday, an example where the students were not picked up.
“The bus just did not show up. There was a delay, apparently until 7 a.m. yesterday. The bus did not show up at all,” Carrion said.
Torres has called the school district about the issues. In one instance, she was transferred to the transportation department. She was told that there were not enough drivers to cover the route.
There are 25 to 30 students to be picked up just at that stop, most of them who are Hispanic.
“But then they asked what the race of the students were. So, [Maribel] responded that they were mostly Hispanics. The bus transportation responded that it was basically racial discrimination,” Carrion said.
WSAV asked the district for comment about these allegations. The district says race has nothing to do with it and late or missing busses are more common at the beginning of the year.
A report the district sent us from September shows only 52 percent of bus arrivals and drop-offs were on time. In this instance, a spokeswoman said the driver was out of town driving students on an overnight trip. He has also been absent in the past due to medical issues. When a driver is absent, other drivers will often split up routes for coverage.
Maribel and Kimberly are now asking for parents in the area to come together and call the district if they are also having problems… months into the school year.
The school system also tells us, the bus problems aren’t unique to our area. School bus driver shortages are being felt all over the country.
The lack of drivers leads to delays throughout the district, and Superintendent Dr. Denise Watts is actively addressing the issue and working on solutions.
The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 2 p.m.