Thursday, January 25, 2007

Well, this sucks...

This morning I was awakened by Demetrius telling me that Son in Ohio's bus had not come, so he was going to need to drive him to school and then come back for Daughter. I wondered if classes were cancelled for some reason--an inservice day or something like that. No, we would have gotten a reminder sent home with one of the kids.

Now, on Sunday night, you may recall that I was wondering if there could be a cancellation, and was watching the local news web sites for updates. I had one of those bookmarked on my Sidekick, so I looked up that page and saw a whole long list of school closings, including Columbus City Schools. The listing noted that schools were closed due to a "shortage of buses and drivers".

I'm glad I caught that before Demetrius drove all the way to school for nothing, and, while it threw a bit of a monkey wrench into some of our plans for the day, we just went about our business the best we could. Then, about half an hour ago, Daughter got a call from one of her friends. They talked about nothing for a good long while, as 11 year olds are known to do, and then I heard my daughter in the hallway saying to her friend, "Do you think I should tell my mom?" Well, that sort of thing is *bound* to get my attention, and once Daughter realized I'd heard her, she went ahead and told me, "She says there might be no school tomorrow either."

Yikes. And it was only at *that* point that it occurred to me to look for a news story about this "bus and driver shortage"beyond the school closing notice I'd seen at 8 this morning. And I found this...

Columbus Public Schools officials learned about 7 p.m. yesterday that a private bus company was grounding its drivers today, but they didn't decide until about 5:45 this morning to close schools.

Superintendent Gene Harris said officials worked throughout the night to make up for the 48 routes that First Student typically handles. But they could not find solutions for 30 routes.

First Student grounded its drivers after discovering that it hadn't completed criminal-background checks on them, as is required by state law and its contract with Columbus Public Schools.

Here's another story: Officials: Bus Shortage Resulted From Cocaine Discovery

And the most recent update at the Columbus Dispatch
They are rushing to be able to reopen Friday, but as of midafternoon a decision hadn't been made, spokesman Michael Straughter said.

The attorney general's office has cleared 56 of the 61 drivers used by Columbus Public to resume driving schoolchildren, Dann said. The other five require further study, he said.
School districts throughout Ohio that use First Student, including Cincinnati and Lorain, will receive warnings from the attorney general's office that the checks haven't been performed.

Ohio adminstrative code requires school bus drivers to have undergone a background check. So does Columbus Public's contract with First Student.

The company never sent in the forms for a background check on the Columbus drivers, Dann said.

Alternate link for comments

No comments:

Post a Comment