Courtesy Lawrence schools
Lawrence School District added 14 buses to alleviate commuting problems for the private-school students it is responsible for transporting. From left Sara Weiss, the district’s private-school transportation liaison, and Michael and Nick Fabrizio from Independent Coach.
Improving communication and seeking ways to rectify transportation problems that have vexed the Lawrence School District and the private schools it serves since the school year began were the primary focus of a meeting between district officials, yeshiva leaders and parents in Superintendent Gary Schall’s office on Monday.
Earlier this school year, parents bombarded the district and its bus company, Inwood-based Independent Coach, with complaints mostly concerning children being picked up and not getting to school on time, getting home late and being on the bus for an inordinate amount of time — nearly two hours in some cases.
By adding 14 buses and revising routes that included changing approximately 115 pick-up/drop-off locations commutes from home to school and back were made shorter and more efficient, district officials said. Now the goal is to enhance the overall transportation system.
“We were trying to be as flexible as we could, but it came back to bite us,” Schall said, adding that by not adhering to the April 1 deadline for transportation registration created pickups not on the initial route lists.
Issues discussed at the meeting included, getting signage for buses so students know which ones are theirs, hiring bus matrons, the installation of video cameras, placing information on the district website alerting parents that substitute drivers are operating the buses and having designated seats for the children.
“You can’t foresee every problem, but if there is another adult on the bus that could solve some of them,” said Ilana Weinstein, a parent who was representing Yeshiva of South Shore, about having matrons on the school buses.
Weinstein and other parents noted the recurrence of bullying and other incidents on the bus that the driver cannot attend to when he or she is driving. Simplifying the incident report and using a check off format was also discussed.