A reader complained to Patch on Wednesday that there had been some issues with bus transportation for kids from Rockwood Valley Middle School. The parent said, "for the past 3 days this week, the school buses have been late getting to the middle school to pick the kids up and bring them home."
Turns out, district officials say, the delays may be the result of what it calls "an illegal" work slow-down by employees of First Student, which provides bus transportation to the district.
We inquired with the Rockwood School District. Spokeswoman Kim Cranston said the following note had been sent home to parents on Thursday, from Karen Hedrick, the interim principal at Rockwood Valley Middle School, 1220 Babler Park Drive, Wildwood:
"You may be aware of some issues with late buses this
week. Several of our First Student
buses have not been arriving to campus on time for dismissal. The majority of the buses have arrived
three to eight minutes after our 2:22 p.m. scheduled dismissal time each day.
"To ensure the safety of all students, we have directed teachers to keep First Student bus riders in their classrooms each afternoon until we announce the arrival of buses onto campus. We are also taking extra precautions as students are getting on the buses to make sure the dismissal process is safe and efficient.
"According to Rockwood’s Director of Transportation Bill Sloan, the district is monitoring this situation with First Student. We believe the late buses at Rockwood Valley and one other middle school campus are a result of a work slowdown on the part of some bus drivers who are not adhering to the agreement that was overwhelming accepted by First Student employees. First Student is honoring the agreement and is working with union officials to stop the illegal action.
"I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience or frustration these transportation problems may have caused you and your families. I greatly appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to resolve the situation and return to a smooth and timely dismissal at the end of the school day."
The letter directs parents to contact Hedrick at 636-733-4282 or Michael Heyman, the location manager for First Student, at 314-313-4725.
Patch will reach out to First Student for more information.