Atlanta Public Schools will add 850 bus stops and 49 buses after changes to the system’s bus routes created an uproar throughout the system.
In Buckhead, the issues have been mostly resolved according to Reide Onley, co-president of North Atlanta Parents for Public Schools. There is one notable exception. Sarah Smith Elementary parents haven’t found a solution, the school’s Parent Teacher Association co-president says.
School started Aug. 6, but parents soon railed against APS enforcing an old policy on bus service. According to Reporter Newspapers broadcast partner CBS Atlanta, the school system suspended bus service for children who live within a mile of their elementary school or 1 1/2 miles of their middle or high schools.
APS’ decision to add buses will cost the system an additional $2.8 million.
Stacy Hanley, co-president of the Sarah Smith Elementary Parent Teacher Association, said the school system didn’t account for Sarah Smith being split into two campuses: a primary school on Old Ivy Road and an intermediate campus on Wieuca Road. The two campuses are about a mile apart, and some parents have children at both campuses, she said.
“They were only measuring the one-mile radius from one campus, so a parent may not have any kids at the primary campus and it may be more than a mile from the intermediate campus,” Hanley said. “Also, with our split campuses, a parent who has kids at both schools cannot physically walk.”
Hanley said the school system has made minor tweaks to the bus routes, but on the whole the problem persists. She said as a result of the changes enacted at the beginning of the school year, APS buses servicing Sarah Smith actually increased from 13 to 18. She said there were two buses with fewer than 10 riders.
The increase in parents driving their children to school along with the increased number of buses in the morning backs up traffic, Hanley said.
“We don’t deem it resolved at all,” Hanley said. “Our other big gripe is that no one would respond from APS transportation.”
Atlanta Public Schools spokesman Keith Bromery said APS will make changes, if necessary. “We’ll look into it and make adjustments as required,” Bromery said.
Onley said north Atlanta parents in general are working very well with the school system to resolve their problems.
“Sarah Smith still has some problems,” Onley said. “They’re still working through them. I would say the cluster as a whole still has seen a marked improvement, working together, coming up with solutions together and not just complaining. They have improved the transportation situation and not all of them are perfect yet.”