Concern over a lack of parental notification when public school buses break down sent Kim McHenry to the on Wednesday, where she detailed her experiences to the school board.
“If you communicate with us, it’s a lot easier,” she told the assembled members. “It’s your job to notify parents.”
“You have ,” she said to the BOE, referring to the system of telephone and email notification the district uses. “We should be notified. I would like a policy and procedure.”
BOE Chair Frank Carrano said, “Thank you for your comment. We all paid attention to it."
told the board that, following an incident last December, he had “put in writing to the bus company that schools must be notified” when bus breakdowns occur.
He said he “knew that to be happening since December 23.”
McHenry, whose children attend both the Elementary School and the , appeared with Pam Olejarczyk, who has two children at Walsh.
To the board, McHenry detailed her most recent experiences with the school buses mid-school-year. By November, a school bus had broken down twice. In late December , a bus broke down again, causing it to make a trip to the bus yard. There, the children were transferred to another bus before returning to the route that takes them home from school.
In his remarks, the superintendent said that he agreed with the bus company that transferring students from one bus to another in the bus yard because it is a sheltered area was correct, but he also said that notifying the school district was necessary.
McHenry, who works as a nurse, told the board that she had had a babysitter waiting at the end of her drive to meet her children when she was not notified by the school district after one breakdown occurred.
“As a parent, it’s very worrisome,” she said. “I don’t know if the children are standing at the side of a road.”
Earlier, McHenry had observed that in 2009 a bus broke down three times the first week of school and then broke down again the second week of school—a slew of breakdowns she had termed “completely unacceptable.”
The superintendent asked McHenry if she had had any problem with the school district’s transportation since the incident last December, and she replied that she had not.
“We’ll see what happens,” McHenry commented after she left the meeting.
The school buses in Branford run under a contract with First Student Inc.