Crestwood Postpones First Day of School Due to Transportation Concerns

WRIGHT TOWNSHIP, Pa -- With less than 24 hours notice, parents and students in the Crestwood School District were told summer would last just a little longer.

School officials announced Sunday that transportation issues have forced the district to push back the start of the academic year until after Labor Day.

Concerns over school transportation have plagued the district over the last year; back in October 2018, classes were canceled after an audit of the district's transportation contract showed that drivers did not have the proper clearances. Last week, parents voiced concerns that routes were being merged, and high school and elementary students would be on the same bus.

"I was happy at first, I was like 'yes! another week to prepare!' But then at the same time, I was like 'well are they going to take it off of holidays, are they going to take it off the end of the school year?'" questioned Rachel Stover, a sophomore at Crestwood.

G. Davis Inc, the company Crestwood contracted to fulfill its transportation needs, notified the district, saying "with the many variables and factors that we have encountered since July 1st...we are not confident in moving forward with the start of the school year beginning August 26th."

The district superintendent, Bob Mehalick, notified families of the start date at 9am Sunday, saying, "while the district understands that this may cause hardship and inconvenience for many families, the district necessitates additional time to coordinate transportation agreements."

Crestwood students Rachel Stover and Rachel Zingaretti say it's frustrating not knowing how they will get to school, with the routes and times changing over the last few weeks.

"My bus, it would pick me up at seven o'clock, and with the new bus schedule it's picking me up at six-fifteen. So there is a huge difference of when I'm going to wake up," explained Stover.

"Especially if you're a freshman it's already hard, but if you have no idea how you're going to get home that's even worse," added Zingaretti, a junior.

While some students are concerned about the delayed start of the school year, some parents say this is a chance for the school district to get it's act together and figure out a bus schedule.

"Right now my kids don't even have a bus schedule, I've been looking and I'd rather know going ahead of time because I know they would be anxious on the first day of school not knowing where they're going to go," said Melissa Frailey, who has two kids in the elementary school. She says while this set back is frustrating, she wants other parents to realize it's necessary for student safety.

"I'm hoping that the mom's and the other parents can have an open mind, and I know it is frustrating on short notice, but I think it is best for the whole school district," she said.

Students in the Crestwood School District will now start school on Tuesday, September 3. The district says over the next week they will post finalized bus stops and schedules on their website.

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