This morning, was a rocky start to the school year for many students waiting endlessly for a bus. This afternoon was apparently even worse. Some students were shifted to other buses. With buses somehow over capacity, kids were sitting on buses that couldn’t leave the school. Parents were complaining about kids apparently stranded and/or missing with late/insufficient communications.
At 5:54 pm tonight, Superintendent Greg Martineau emailed an apology, blaming the issues on a computer glitch. Parents are told to send their kids to the same stops tomorrow morning as they went to today. (There is no detail on how that will work.) For afternoon stops, fixes are currently in the works for 4 buses that were most impacted by the snafu. New routes will be posted on Sunday evening.
A couple of weeks ago, I had shared the Northborough-Southborough School District communication about how they were handling bus routes this year. It promised an improved process. The implication was that headaches this year wouldn’t be repeated. Unfortunately, today proved that the process was still somehow insufficient.
After planning to have bus routes frozen from August 23rd through mid-September, the administration was forced to post new schedules last night to address issues.
I don’t know all of the issues, but do have knowledge of some impacts to the Neary and Trottier routes. (That’s the route that follows Algonquin routes and precedes the Finn and Woodward routes.)
This morning, Bus 14 (the short bus used for roads difficult for the big ones to navigate) not only ran extraordinarily late but was purportedly unable to pick up part of its Neary/Trottier route after it reached full capacity. (Another bus had to be sent to pick up kids left behind.)
This afternoon, many students assigned to Bus 14 were reassigned to other buses. I’m told that at least one other Neary/Trottier bus was over capacity as a result this afternoon. Facebook is full of stories from parents complaining about the confusing aftermath.
Neary and Trottier schools end at 2:25 pm. At 3:41 pm, the administration sent out the following message to Trottier Middle School parents:
Dear parents and guardians:
We are experiencing significant delays in Trottier/Neary students arriving home this afternoon. This is impacting Neary/Trottier buses S3, S4, S12, and S14. We are anticipating the students will be dropped of in the next 30 minutes.
Respectfully, Greg Martineau
That message was 35 minutes after Finn and Woodward K-3 students get out of school. I have no idea what time those students (who ride the bus after the older kids are dropped off) got home.
Here is the message from the Superintendent sent out tonight:
As the Superintendent of Schools, I was hoping for a smooth transportation start to the school year, as a lot of time and effort went into trying to improve how the District delivers transportation services to its students. Although for many families, transportation went smoothly, for others, it did not. Regardless, it is my responsibility to ensure that there is safe transportation for students to and from school. It’s also my responsibility to make sure issues are rectified, which is my number one priority. I apologize to those families, and students, who were impacted today by the District’s transportation services. The focus of the first day of school should be about making it a great start for our students, not about transportation concerns.
I assembled the Transportation Department team this afternoon to identify what happened, why, and what needs to take place between now and tomorrow morning. The issue with the late buses this afternoon was due to a computer glitch, which our Technology Department is working to resolve. We are working in partnership with NRT to ensure that students are picked up and dropped off in a safe and timely manner tomorrow, Thursday, August 29, 2019.
Tomorrow morning, your child(ren) should wait at the bus stop that he/she was picked up this morning, August 28, 2019. The afternoon routes are currently being corrected for Southborough S3, S9, S12, and S14 and will be provided to the NRT drivers.
Please be assured that we are actively addressing outstanding concerns that have been received. We will be posting updated routes on Sunday evening, September 1, 2019, at 6:00 PM.
Link to NBORO Transportation Webpage
Gregory L. Martineau
Superintendent of Schools