THE LATEST FROM D209
September 9, 2022
Transportation issues plague D209
Late start to bus planning results in big problems
Did you know that when Superintendent James Henderson came to District 209 he promised in-house transportation?
Did you also know that at a recent town hall meeting the superintendent told the attendees that the district did not have a contract with First Student, the bus company the district has used in the past?
Did you know that a Request For Bids for bus service had a deadline for submission of August 3rd, which means the district would have to evaluate and select a company and prepare a route less than a month before the start of school?
Did you know that due to the lack of planning and ineffective communication, parents have students waiting for buses the district knows full well will not and cannot show up at the time they indicated to those parents and students?
Do you know why? The bus company already had established routes in place with school districts that planned this ahead of time.
Did you know according to one parent that called the Maywood bus company, there is still no contract between the district and the bus company? The parent said she called to get more information and was told that the company did not have a signed contract. She was also informed that the bus company had communicated to the school that due to short staffing the buses would be late. The school district, however, never communicated this to students. "It’s sad that no one give us the heads up so us parents can figure out how we were going to get our kids to school. District 209 should be ashamed of itself. They really dropped the ball with this one,” the parent said.
Proviso 209 United has requested a copy of the bus contract through Freedom of Information Act.
Do you know that the Villa Park bus company also stated there is no firm contract in place with the district? They have to drop students off at Elmhurst schools first and then complete a route for Proviso West students. They say they have communicated this with the principal of Proviso West as well as Superintendent James Henderson, but parents are not receiving straight forward communication from the district.
A light at the end of this train wrecking tunnel is that the bus company says they have already hired additional staff that is currently in training to better improve the routes by October. Right now they said they are doing all they can to tweak routes to get better drop-off and pick-up times. So, while that has been communicated to the district that has not been communicated to parents.
If the district had been more transparent and communicated effectively with parents, the parents could make alternative arrangements so students wouldn’t have to be stuck waiting for buses that never arrive or arrive so late the students are marked tardy or absent from their classes. They could have offered bus cards or bus passes to students. They could have offered solutions.
Proviso 209 United is asking anyone affected by issues at any of the three D209 schools to report issues here.