Augusta, GA — Richmond County Board of Education answered our questions about numerous school bus complaints.
Since school started exactly one week ago, parents told News Channel 6 about late bus pick-ups and drop offs. We also reported one mother’s story about her kids’ bus stop being at a sex offender’s home.
So, we became the voice of every parent who has reached out to us with a school bus complaint.
It was a tough day getting your questions answered.
We arrived at Richmond County Board of Education around 11:00 a.m. and asked the front desk for Kaden Jacobs, Communications and Community Engagement Manager.
About 10 minutes later he arrived where we were standing at the front door.
“Can we talk with you about several issues that we’ve been receiving from parents,” News Channel 6’s Renetta DuBose said to Jacobs.
He replied, “No, I don’t. I have meeting.”
Before rushing off to his meeting, we told Jacobs we just wanted to talk about why his office had not given answers to parents about their bus concerns.
He said, “I know you have because you reported them.”
“Yeah, well just statements, but no answers. Just statements about the issues, but no resolution to a lot of these parent’s issues,” DuBose responded.
[Transportation Director Jimmie] “Wiley has been interviewed. We’ve been sending stuff out,” Jacobs stated before walking away from our camera and line of inquisition to his meeting.
“Will you have time to talk with us afterwards to answers parents’ questions? Can we schedule a meeting with you in the future? Mr. Jacobs?,” DuBose called out.
But News Channel 6 keeps getting complaints from parents about extremely late buses, kids walking more than a mile and on dangerous highways.
“What is your message as board president?,” DuBose asked BOE President Helen Minchew.
“I apologize,” she stated.
Minchew tells me she sends complaints from parents straight to administrators, who she adds spent the first few days of school answering phone calls at the Transportation office.”
“We had a communication problem as things were happening as far as getting back to the schools,” she said.
Wiley told us he has been getting complaints about buses from parents too.
“We want to not have our kids on the bus for a long period of time. That has been a concern,” he said.
He added it is all a process to fix the concerns.
“We are in the process of going through all of our parental concerns addressing them as fast as we can,” he said.
In fact we heard that word a lot.
“Just didn’t have a process. Have to establish the processes,” Michew told us.
“It will be one of those things where we review the process,” Jacobs told us after calling back around 1:30 p.m. to fulfil our earlier request for an interview.
I must add that News Channel 6 has reached out to Jacobs since the first day of school for an on camera interview.
“In the world of processing, what did you find out that didn’t work?,” [regarding buses] DuBose asked.
“Some of our routes were short. Some of the buses may have been a little full. Just random things,” he stated.
So, here is the process school officials want parents to use. Call the transportation office first at 706.796.4777. Leave a message there. Then call your child’s school. This is the process even if you’re a parent who is running late for work and waiting on the bus at home or a stop.
The people we talked to would not give us a firm date as far as when the issues would be fixed. Wiley said specifically that he did not want to lie to people.
As for the bus stop near the sex offender’s home, it has been moved from Dennis Road and Park Street to the corner of Stone Creek Road and Dennis Road.