POTTSTOWN PA – An unexpected, last-minute rush of new students created overcrowding conditions on several Pottsgrove School District bus routes during the first two weeks of the just-started academic year, administrators said Tuesday night (Sept. 11, 2012), but added they hope the problems can be solved by next week.
Worried parents and the president of the district Board of School Directors said they had either seen or heard about incidents in which children had to ride three abreast in seats usually occupied by only two; larger-than-usual groups of students waiting at bus stops, and potentially dangerous traffic conditions reported at some stops.
“We’re not ignoring them,” district Business Administrator David Nester, who also supervises the transportation program, replied to their concerns during the board’s meeting at Pottsgrove Middle School. “We’re working to reduce the overload and balance the load,” he said.
Some parents predicted busing would become a headache this year as Pottsgrove transformed its three former kindergarten-through-fifth-grade elementary schools into educational centers for grades K-2 and 3-5. The need to transport an increased number of students over longer distances to centralized locations was bound to delay bus runs and increase safety risks, they argued.
Nester conceded a limited number of buses had been affected three days before schools opened Aug. 27 – “very late in the game,” he said – by an unanticipated influx of new students from a single day care center. Their arrival “had a direct impact” on routes and pushed the occupancy of some buses “substantially higher,” he admitted.
Tales of overcrowding is “what I’ve heard the most about” from parents since school began, board President Scott Fulmer noted.
Proposed solutions are already in the works, Nester promised. Route changes have been planned by the district and its busing contractor, CMD Transportation, to lessen the loads and more evenly distribute ridership.
The changes must be tested, however, and affected families need to be notified of new pick-up times. Both may happen as early as Monday (Sept. 17). “There’s a game plan in place,” Nester explained. “We just want to make sure it works for everyone involved, and doesn’t create problems somewhere else.”
Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ Sept. 11 meeting):
- ‘Grove Issues 100+ Payments For Extracurricular Work
- Four Of 5 Pottsgrove Schools Missed Progress Targets
- Pottsgrove Promises Fix For 3-To-A-Seat Busing Worries
Photo from Google Images