More Gadsden parents voice concerns over school buses

Gadsden Co. bus issues
Gadsden Co. bus issues
Posted at 3:54 PM, Aug 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-24 14:52:57-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Yesterday, WTXL told you about parents in Gadsden County who've raised concerns about school bus safety including overcrowding.

Since our story ran, we've heard from more parents who say the district isn't being truthful about its plans to fix those problems.

The school district says the safety of its students is its top priority but some parents say what's happening on its school buses seems to show otherwise.

While high schoolers are bussed separately, these bus routes show students in elementary and middle schools travel together. A woman who didn't want to be named said the same thing happened last year, prompting her stepchildren to get rides to school.

She also said a bus with middle or high school students shouldn't have more than 48 children, since they're bigger. Wednesday, one parent claimed 100 were on a single bus.

Superintendent Roger Milton said Wednesday that the district did deal with overcrowding starting out the school year but those issues have been resolved.

"The transportation department redirected some routes and informed those drivers, 'Under no circumstances are you to be overloaded. Disabandon the route, and go ahead and go to school, if you have to come back," said Milton. "So, we have drivers, including myself, who was willing to go out and get a bus -- for which I did -- to help on that day. And since that time, we have made adjustments with routes and with drivers. So, we should not have buses that are overcrowded on the roads."

Another parent, Maria Bryant, said Milton's decisions have hurt children, from consolidation to the school bus issues.

In a statement, she said, "The sad part about it is, when you to talk to him or a supervisor about the bus, they get real mad and want to tell you, 'well, we're working on it.' I didn't vote him in, but I'm going to help vote him out. It's a lawsuit waiting to happen."

Milton has encouraged parents to report any issues directly to his office as the district continues to make changes to ensure its students are safe.

The district's transportation director told us today that the initial overcrowding dealt with three activity buses and not the daily routes. He also said over the past several days, buses have consistently ended routes by 5:30.