SOUTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KPLR) – There is outrage among parents and Mehlville school officials after the company charged with bussing voluntary desegregation students to the South St. Louis County district has failed to get the kids to and from school on time.
The Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation, or V.I.C.C., contracts with Durham School Services to bus the kids from north St. Louis to Bierbaum Elementary in the Mehlville District.
Regina Boyd has nine-year-old twins and a ten-year-old that ride the bus, and she tells us they’ve not made it home from school before 5pm this school year. Dismissal is at 3:25. It got worse Tuesday morning, when the bus was thirty-five minutes late picking the kids up from the sometimes dangerous corner of Beacon Avenue and Theodore.
“I actually had to run and track the bus down and flag here, and she said she didn’t know where she was going,” Boyd told us.
But the long journey was just beginning. It would take more than two hours from that moment for the kids to reach school. It was 10:08 when the bus pulled in.
“I’m really frustrated,” Boyd told us, “for one, I’m really lucky I have a good place of employment where I can call them and say, ‘The bus isn’t here yet, I’m going to be late.’ Because if not, that could put my job in jeopardy, because I’m not leaving my children at the bus stop.”
Mehlville officials, who have no control over the transportation, were almost as upset.
“We’ve got students that are already maybe thirty forty minute bus rides plus, then on top of that, that’s just unacceptable to us,” Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Brian Lane said. “It’s frustrating because we want the kids here, having breakfast, we want them, obviously, in our classes and learning.”
All the complaints have landed at V.I.C.C., where the director, David Glaser, is trying to get the problem solved.
“I think the first thing you say is, ‘I’m sorry,’ because that’s not the way we want things to go, and the second thing we say is keep us informed about how things are going,” Glaser said. “And that’s what we asked this parent to do.”
He says they’re also looking for a good fix.
“To make sure the route is accurately described so no matter who drives the route they can complete it in a timely fashion, and secondly, until we know that’s the case, we want an experienced driver on the route.”
Mehlville officials tell us they’ve generally had a good relationship with V.I.C.C. and few problems like this. They’ve also been on the phone, Tuesday, and have also received assurances.
“What they’re telling us is the position is posted and they’ve assured me personally that we are going to have a regular driver from here on out on that route,” Lane said.
As for Boyd, she just wants a little bit of normalcy for her sons.
“This is ridiculous, they need to do better.”