DPS puts on final town hall to hear from parents about ongoing issues

The district has said they are short about 40 bus drivers. (WKEF/WRGT)

DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Dayton public schools wrapped up a series of town hall meetings May 17 at Belmont High School, focusing on the problems with transportation in the district.

At the last of four meetings, the questions turned to when parents will have answers about the plan for school buses in the fall.

The district has said they are short about 40 bus drivers and that is what has caused the problems with route times and pickups.

"Now it's time to put some heat to the flame and make something shake," said Kalihi Bailey, a DPS parent and former bus driver.

"It may not be a one-size-fits-all solution," said superintendent Rhonda Corr, who has been with the district about eight months.

DPS said the problems plaguing their transportation department boils down to a shortage of bus drivers.

The biggest concern from the public during the town hall meetings has been the solution from DPS to have seventh and eighth grade students ride RTA buses to school in the fall.

DPS has also recommended that they switch from a two-tier bell schedule to allow the bus drivers they have to drive more routes, and get students to school on time.

"We're going to a three-tier system, and we've even considered a four tier system which we are working on today," Corr said.

"Maybe it'll be part RTA depending on what they can offer us, maybe it'll be part hiring more drivers, maybe it will be part of staggering the bell schedules where feasible, neighborhood schools were another option," Corr continued.

Corr said the district has been listening to the comments brought forward during the town halls, and now she wants parents to be open to using the RTA for their younger children.

If not, Corr said DPS will need to hire about 40 school bus drivers, the same number she said they were short at the beginning of the school year.

"If we don't want to do the seventh and eighth grade thing, we have to solve it by finding drivers," she told the audience.

"Or do you want to continue with the same problems that I've played to the city for many, many years," she said to FOX 45’s Kelly May.

With the solutions laid out parents wanted answers as summer break is just around the corner.

One parent at the town hall said, "personally I don't want our community learning of the decision in July and school starts in August and people have to go figure out what school to go to."

Corr said they do not have a hard deadline to figure out what solution to take but that they are meeting with the RTA again this week to see if the routes for the seventh and eighth-grade students will be feasible.

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