Problems affect three bus routes on Monday

Hinsdale Middle School PTO President Kristin McDaniel had a busy day Monday.

She said she fielded dozens of calls about children who were not picked up on the morning bus route Monday, the first day of school. In an email she sent to Superintendent Hector Garcia, which she forwarded to The Hinsdalean, she said her son was among them.

“My eighth-grader was one of those who waited at his stop until 8:20. Luckily, I was running late for work and was able to take him to school,” she wrote.

Community Consolidated Elementary District 181 had issues with three of its 14 bus routes, Garcia said Wednesday via email. The 14 routes serve 647 out of 3,456 students.

A national staffing shortage in bus drivers has affected First Student, the district’s transportation company, he wrote. That, coupled with some first-year drivers, created some longer bus rides and a learning curve as the year started.

“We’ve been working with First Student on creative ways to problem-solve the labor shortage,” Garcia said. “Because the situation is out of our control and it’s not likely to improve in the near future, we’ll now look to implement a notification system that is more timely for families.”

McDaniel criticised the lack of communication and of an apology.

“This is completely unacceptable to the parents and administration who had to deal with this without any insight or word from the district,” she wrote in her letter.

As of Wednesday morning, the district believed the issues were resolved, Garcia wrote.