(This letter was originally sent to Superintendent Beth Hallett)
To the editor: For many of the children in our district, their school day begins the moment they board the bus. It is supposed to be a safe and reliable way for them to get to and from school. For the three years that my family has been part of the district, the bussing has been inconsistent and unreliable.
The children on the Old South Route were left standing on the side of the road this morning, with no notice or outreach from the school. This is absolutely unacceptable and unsafe. I realize that there were issues with the departing bus driver and little notice was given from him, but it is your responsibility to contact the parents to let them know they need to make alternative arrangements.
I urge the school to work with Cape Cod Collaborative to be more diligent about hiring bus drivers, especially when utilizing an off-island company. Job opportunities should be posted on your website, included with emails to parents, and posted in local news outlets. They offer a generous sign-on bonus, a great hourly wage, and paid training, but you wouldn't know that unless you were actively researching the employment opportunities on their website.
School bus drivers play an important role in our community. Not only do they get our children to and from school safely, but for each face in the window of that bus is one less car on the road of our already congested streets.
In closing, I would really appreciate an update on how our kids are getting home this afternoon. If I have to pick them up, I need to know.
Thank you for your time and consideration to this matter.
parent of a second grader and kindergartener
Read Hallett's full response below:
Yesterday at noon, we had an unexpected resignation from the bus driver for the Old South route. The driver never contacted me, he only contacted Cape Cod Collaborative, and I was made aware towards the end of the school day. From that point, I contacted CCC to begin troubleshooting. We had a plan in place for this morning that involved no changes to the bus routes or times, just a change in the driver. For that reason, I did not send an alert to the district, since only special education transportation was to change, and CCC had already begun contacting families whose children were affected.
I suspect that something changed and the drivers themselves made some kind of adjustment that ultimately affected all of the students on the Old South route. I understand and fully agree that this is unacceptable to parents and families who are trying to help get their children to school on time. As we speak, I am working with CCC to determine the afternoon bus runs and the schedule for the remainder of the week, and I will send a Pace message as soon as CCC has the plan in place.
This is an ongoing, serious problem that we have been dealing with since last year. Cape Cod Collaborative has struggled immensely to get quality bus drivers for our school district. I am pleading with parents and families to be as patient as they can while we try to find a solution as quickly as possible. I also ask that if anyone in the Nantucket community is interested in becoming a school bus driver, visit https://capecodcollaborative.org/about-us/about-2/employment-opportunities-cape-cod/ and contact Sabina Moldovan, Human Resources Manager for Cape Cod Collaborative at email@example.com.