Transportation Talk

The bus saga.  Ah, the bus saga.

After Monday morning’s fun, his regular bus came on Monday afternoon with the regular driver… and no aide.  Turns out that the driver had been shunted to another route that morning.

Tuesday morning, still no aide.  Tuesday afternoon, the aide was back, with a similar story.

In the interim, however, I’d already fired off another email to the school district to voice my displeasure as a formal official complaint… and to follow through on advice from my father the attorney to request the contract and the information on the holder of Durham Bus Company’s performance bond.  It’s amazing what kind of a result that gets – within five minutes, I had an email back from the head of transportation for the city requesting an in-person meeting.

So today was the meeting.

The head of transportation is a nice, reasonable person, based on our conversation at the Monster’s school.    (As he confided to me today during our meeting, the precision of my verbiage got his attention, and he felt it was absolutely necessary to find out what was going on, if I’d been relatively calm to date and this had been sufficient to set me off.)  We still disagree on whose job it is to contact Durham when the bus is significantly late – I still hold it’s the school board’s job, since they’re the one with the contract, and he still insists its the parents’ job.  On the advice of their chief of staff, I was not provided with the requested information, though we both agreed I could very easily file via FOIA for it.  It was at that point that I brought up – firmly – that the whole point of how I was going about this was to try to hold off going to avenues that would leave a legal trail that could cause bigger problems for the school district in the long run, and that I’m trying to be nice.

The school board does, however, agree that there’s a major problem here.  They are issuing a formal written warning (per their contract) to Durham regarding non-performance.  The company’s agreed to ensure that our driver will be driving the bus each morning, and that they will call all of the parents on the route if there has to be a substitution (which can only be for our driver being ill/absent).  They will be made aware that they are required to have the aide on our bus every day, per the Monster’s IEP, or risk putting the school district into non-compliance with the IEP.  And they are being warned that if there is a repetition of this lateness, the route will be taken away, and they will be in danger of not having their contract renewed for service next year.

(We did segue off onto the topic of customer service, something that I’ve gotten an appreciation for given what I do in my daily life.  It’s very interesting to hear how the schoolboard really can’t track why folks call in to the various customer call numbers at their headquarters – they basically can get number, handle-time, and number of dropped calls – and I’m doing him a quick write-up on how we track customer service calls.)

We should be getting written notice from the school district in the next few days, with all of this information.  Hopefully, this is – as he suggested – the last time that we have to talk about the busing issue.

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