Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bussing Blues

So I'm on my way down Ernest Street to Central Library, not even thinking that it is 3:00 pm and there's one of the dozens of elementary schools in town about a block before I get to the library. Consequently, I must struggle through the traffic, stop/starting in the pick up line, and I'm in a hurry to get back to Moss Bluff to pick up my own kids.

Why are school buses so under-utilized here in Calcasieu Parish? Why do so many parents feel the need to drive their youngsters to school and pick them up at the end of the school day? The school district provides transportation! Do the parents not trust the bus drivers? Are they afraid of school bus bullies? Do they all have someplace they need to go immediately after the dismissal bell? These before and after school queues seemingly exist at every school in the district, be it elementary, middle or high school. Isn't it a waste of time and gasoline?

When we first moved here three years ago, I noticed this phenomenon and was appalled. Of course, Andrew and Eric took the bus to and from school. Despite the fact that they got home 45 minutes after school let out and the school was only 10 minutes away. But that's the way it was. Until this year. This past fall, the district changed the bus schedule for our neighborhood. Instead of catching the bus at 6:55 am, the boys would now catch the bus at 6:25. And instead of getting home at 3:45, it's now 4:15.

And that's where I draw the line. As a responsible caring mother, I can't with a clear conscious make my children lose an hour of sleep every day and waste another hour every afternoon. So there I am, sitting in the drop off and pick up lines every morning and afternoon with all the other crazy parents. I calculated I drive an estimated 100 extra miles a week (5+ miles to the school, 10 miles round trip, twice a day, 5 days a week) just to save these two hours a day. It's nuts!

Why can't the school district figure out a way to make bussing more user friendly? My advice to anyone who has children and is considering moving to Moss Bluff . . . find a house close enough to the schools that the kids can walk!


Anonymous said...

I agree the bus system could be more user friendly, but I don't have the answer. For most small parochial schools, owning and operatiing a school bus would not fit into their budget. With that said, I feel for anyone caught in a queue near a school. My personal experience was last picked up in the morning, and last dropped off in the afternoon. Oh, well, some problems seem to defy solutions.

Angie said...

Last picked up in the morning and last dropped off would at least be fair. But my neighborhood is the first picked up and the last dropped off. Doesn't make sense.

GerdieMom said...

I don't plan to send Alex on the bus in another year. But, that's just my anxiety. Hopefully I'll be over it by the time the kids are in high school!

Angie said...

Eric and Andrew rode the bus home from kindergarten, but because they had afternoon kindergarten, I had no choice to drive them to school. The first day of first grade, I cried when they got on the bus; as well as every year since then. But only on the first day.

Greg said...

Since my cat could map out more reasonable routes, it's obviously disorganized. What's even more appalling is the school board spending a small fortune providing bus transportation for kids who are going to summer school b/c of their poor grades. That, and the expensive Caribbean-themed landscaping at the school board offices ... plus, those huge banners on the side of the school board HQ ... is that really necessary? How much did that cost? Geeez ...