Rough Start to School Year in Hazleton Area

HAZLETON -- The transportation troubles in the Hazleton Area School District continued on Wednesday. Some students still don't have a way to get to school. Others are either being dropped off or picked up late.

The district has apologized for the issues and says it's working overtime to get everything resolved.

The start of the school year in the Hazleton Area School District has been a bumpy one, plagued by transportation troubles.

This year, the district rolled out a new transportation plan that consolidated bus routes in an effort to be more efficient and save the district about $600,000.

So far, though it's caused quite the headache.

"Normally even in a good year, they’re always running a little bit late because kids aren't ready or there is a new bus driver on that particular route. Well, this was sort of compounded," Assistant Business Manager Bob Krizansky said.

New routes, hundreds of late registrations, and an upgrade to the district's transportation software led to a perfect storm of glitches. Some bus drivers did not get the new routes, so buses were running up to two hours late picking up and dropping off students.

Other students never got assigned a bus, forcing some to miss school.

“We feel a huge obligation to our community, to our parents and students to solve these problems and do the best job we can," said Hazleton Area Superintendent Dr. Craig Butler.

The district has made sure that all bus drivers now have updated routes, so the confusion there has now been resolved. They've been able to help about a hundred students and parents resolve bus route issues in just the past day, though they still have hundreds more to resolve.

The district typically has two people working in the transportation department. It's now up to 10 people, all working around the clock to return the hundreds of calls received from frustrated parents and resolve each student's bus route issue.

"The average call is about 8-10 minutes, so we are getting to them as soon as we can," said Business Manager Anthony Reba.

The district is hoping to have all the transportation troubles resolved by next week.

2 comments

  • Abc

    If all of the bus routes have been fixed, please post them online for all to see. If “fixed” means having drivers zig-and loop-d’loop through narrow side streets with 40-foot long buses… If “fixed” means having drivers get from one stop to the next, secure the bus, stop traffic, pick up or discharge (in some cases) 20-40 students in under one (1) minute…. If “fixed” means departing the high school with a full bus load of kids at the same minute they are required to arrive at the high school… If this is what the Hazleton Area School District’s Transportation Department means by “fixed,” please posts the routes online so we can all see how “fixed” they are.

  • uhg

    Can you imagine being a school administrator and trying to speak with these parents over the phone? 75% of the parents can speak only spanish.

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