Gadsden County parents raise concerns about school buses

Gadsden Co. students and parents allege bus overcrowding
Gadsden Co. students and parents allege bus overcrowding
Posted at 4:45 PM, Aug 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-24 03:46:35-04

QUINCY, Fla. (WTXL) - The Gadsden County School District is two weeks into the new school year -- the first one after reconfiguration.

Now, parents have taken to social media, complaining about transportation and the safety of their children on school buses.

Every day, more than 50 school buses travel around Gadsden County, picking up hundreds of students.

The district says more than 70 percent of its students ride the bus.

"We are still tweaking and making some adjustments," said superintendent Roger Milton, "but we are very pleased with the progress with which we're making when it comes to transportation."

But not everyone is on board with how things are rolling this year. Parents and students have posted concerns on Facebook.

One parent claimed more than 100 students were on a bus and "numerous children" were getting home after 8 p.m.

Another parent said her son told her there are "too many kids on the bus," with some sitting on the floor. One student admits she's been one of them, saying it's not going to work.

A standard school bus usually has 22 to 24 seats. If each seat can fit three elementary school students (or two middle school/high school students), then a school bus shouldn't seat more than 72 students (or 48 middle school/high school students). The school district says it's working to address overcrowding.

"As we become aware of issues and concerns, we are working on those immediately," Milton said.

That includes re-routing buses to even out how many kids are on each bus. As for when they get home, that's based on time adjustments the district made during consolidation.

"No student has been picked up prior to 6 o'clock," Milton said. "Elementary schools are starting later, which means that they dismiss later and the students will be arriving later in the afternoons."

The district says the buses travel to the high school and back first since it starts the earliest. Milton says high school students travel separately from elementary and middle school students.