TYLER — Four days into the new school year, and some Tyler ISD students are still being left behind by the district's bus system. With the week coming to an end, parents of these kids say their patience is running out.
"No bus on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday; nor today,” says Tabitha Birdow, a TISD parent.
Birdow lives in north Tyler at the Pinnacle at North Chase Apartments. She has two children who attend Moore Middle School, one at John Tyler High School, and two others at an elementary campus.
"I roughly have my kids standing out there no later than 6:30 a.m., so that gives them more than enough time."
Even so, her three oldest are among the kids at the complex who say their bus hasn't showed all week.
"They [TISD Transportation Department] did tell me that I was looking at about a week or two before they could even do anything pertaining to their bus route."
Via email, the district told CBS19 they, "…first became aware of the need for transportation to Pinnacle on the afternoon of the 21st...started the following morning on 8/22...so far, only one student has ridden from the Pinnacle Apts."
"I know that they go back before the children even start, so I was asking them, why didn't y’all figure this stuff out before the children even came back to school."
In that same email, TISD provided two GPS images showing that a bus stopped at the complex on Wednesday morning and Thursday, at 7:06 and 7:07 a.m. But according to parents, they were told that bus was for high school students. Until today, the district's website showed the bus scheduled to arrive at the complex at 7:35 a.m. The site now lists the bus status as "Not Available".
"It's not right that parents have to either run behind or make a decision between going to work or taking their children to school when they signed up for their child to ride the bus."
Birdow says much of the confusion starts with a new TISD process.
"The school form actually asks if the child needs transportation,” Birdow says. “And most parents clicked on that bus that ‘yes’ their child needed transportation. What Tyler Independent failed to do was put on there that the parents would still need to go to the TISD transportation department to request for a bus route."
Whether this is the case or not, Birdow and other parents say they hold the district responsible for the confusion.
"It's basically like a waiting game, and we're just waiting on them to see what they're going to do to get these kids to school."
In another email, TISD issued this statement:
"Tyler ISD will continue to work with parents and students to ensure transportation questions are answered and issues resolved. Sixteen additional district staff have been charged with answering phone inquiries from august 23 – august 27. This will allow bus routers to answer specific questions about routing issues. Please direct any specific questions about a route, pick up and drop off times to Tyler ISD at 903.262.1135 and 903.262.1131. Thank you for your continued understanding and continued patience as we work to ensure all of our students are routed properly as quickly as possible.”