Busing issues between the Avon Grove School District (AGSD) and the Avon Grove Charter School Early Learning Center at Kemblesville should be put to rest soon, said Dr. Augustus Massaro, superintendent of the AGSD."We're going to eliminate the transfers to the school, and begin direct busing to and from the school," said Massaro.
According to Massaro, the district's current busing system for the new charter school, which involved busing to Penn London Elementary, then to the ELC, was causing major delays.
"It was also holding up our fleet at Penn London," said Massaro, who added that between 60 and 70 buses were delayed, while waiting for the four buses used by the ELC last week.
Massaro said approximately six buses will be used to remedy the problem and will pick up and drop off students at the ELC who live within the 65 square miles of the district.
"All of us at Kemblesville ELC are very grateful to Dr. Massaro for his intercession in this matter," said Dr. Kevin Brady, executive director of the ELC.
Both students and parents have really been feeling the effects of the unusually long bus rides, which for some areas have totaled over two and a half hours.
According to some ELC parents, unacceptably long bus rides and changing pick up and drop off times are taking a toll on their children, who they say are beginning to become intimidated about going to school.
New London Township resident Jennifer McLean, whose son is a first grader at the ELC, said that while she expected the bus to be a little late because it was the first day of school, she was not prepared for her son's distress due to the long delays.
"It was his first time on a bus, and he was a total mess," said McLean. "He was crying to me the next morning because he had to go back on the bus."
McLean added that she lives only 15 minutes away from the school, but chose to let her son take the bus because he was initially excited about the experience. McLean also said that it is not only convenient, but also covered by her taxes.
"We are accommodating for something we, as taxpayers, shouldn't have to," said one parent, who now drives his child to school rather than put him back on the bus for what he called "another traumatic experience."
Billy Baird, who lives in Oxford, was also upset about the busing situation that her son experienced on Sept. 2, the first day of school.
Baird said her son got on the wrong bus, but she never received a call on her cell phone from the bus company until right before her son was about to get off at the wrong stop.
"He doesn't want to go to school because he doesn't want to ride the bus," said Baird, who broke down in tears at a recent Avon Grove Charter School Board of Trustees Meeting.
"It's very wrong to have a kindergarten student on the bus that long," said Brady. "Causing that distress can be physical and psychological."
In a recent letter sent to parents of ELC students, Brady explained that the charter school has been working with the Avon Grove School District, as well as the Oxford Area School District, which has also been experiencing extended busing times.
The letter also reported that Coatesville, Kennett and Octorara School Districts have had a few late arrivals.