KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- After the first day of school Monday, several parents in the North Kansas City Schools district voiced concerns about late school buses and lacking communication.
As KCTV5 News arrived at a family’s home to talk about bus concerns, Matthew Frazier’s phone rang. An automated message told him his kids’ school bus would be late Tuesday.
“The buses are going to be 15 minutes late,” Frazier said. “That would have been key yesterday.”
Yesterday Frazier says he did not receive a phone call to let his family know that their children’s school buses would be late. “Time kept going by and time kept going by,” Frazier said. “I realized there was a problem.”
He says he tried calling the transportation department and called his children’s school. “You get more concerned and frantic. Where are my kids? What’s going on? Did something happen?” Frazier said. “One million and one things go through your head at that time.”
Frazier says he also checked an app parents can use to track their child’s school bus. “Yesterday it wasn’t working,” Frazier said. “At 4:52 p.m., we got a text from Topping Elementary saying the bus had just arrived there."
He says his children did not arrive home until around 5:30 p.m.
On Tuesday, the bus tracking app sent Frazier two updates before his kids arrived home. The first estimated an arrival time of 4:38PM because the bus was running 10 minutes late. The second update estimated an arrival of 4:48 p.m. because the same bus was then running 20 minutes late.
Frazier says Tuesday’s updates are already an improvement from Monday. “If there is a problem, communicate,” Frazier said. “You can’t over communicate when it comes to your kids. Communication is key.”
KCTV5 News asked NKC Schools for comment. A spokesperson provided a written statement that said, “North Kansas City Schools’ top priority is the safety and well-being of our students. We are always working to improve our students’ experience as we transport 16,000 students each day. Particularly on the first day of school, bus drivers take extra time checking names of all students who board their buses ensuring everyone is on their assigned bus. Additional parent traffic at some schools did delay departure times yesterday but will wane throughout the week. New personnel are familiarizing themselves with the bus departure process and drivers are having to safely navigate around numerous construction sites at schools with all of the projects NKC Schools has going on! NKC Schools is dedicated to resolving any concerns parents may have while delivering students safely and in timely manner. We appreciate patience and understanding as we start the new school year.”
Frazier says he is hopeful bus delays will be resolved and parents will be notified quickly if there are any issues. “It was the first day of school. We understand that,” Frazier said. “So hopefully from this day forward it will get better.”