EBR tackling transportation issues during first days of school - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

EBR tackling transportation issues during first days of school

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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

Safety has become an early concern for some parents who have children in East Baton Rouge Parish Schools - because a school bus is no longer part of their day. Parents are now worried about it.

One parent says she has invited the transportation officials to take the walk with her to show them what she is concerned about. The spokesman for the school system says every year they have transportation issues and they're trying to fix them, but parents want to know why their buses were taken away.

At the end of the school day, parents are making the walk to pick up their kids from school, but it is more than the summer heat that has them hot.

Zaron Jackson has been trying to get through to register her complaint with the EBR Transportation Department. "There is no bus, they told us they're self transport.  But they rode the bus last year, so I don't get it," said Jackson.

She says Wednesday morning, several parents stood at the front of their apartment complex waiting for the bus. They waited until 8:13 a.m., but the buses kept passing and not one of them stopped.

She says someone from the school called to inform them the zones changed and her first and third graders were now going to have to walk to school, meaning they would have to walk several blocks from their home to North Foster and cross four lanes of heavy traffic to make it to school.

"The way it is to get to the school from here - I don't think it's safe," said Jackson.

The School Board says it uses a computer software program that requires students who live within a mile of their school to walk, the program doesn't show if a child will have to cross a dangerous road.

The school system says due to budget cuts, they cut 10 bus routes, saving around $212,000.  They say later start times for transporting private school children and cuts to equipment also helped saved more than $3 million.  But now they may have to bring those 10 buses back.

Alecia Hebert says she is upset after finding out there would no longer be buses rolling in her neighborhood. Hebert says for years, her nieces were picked up at the corner, steps from their house. Now, she is worried about them walking almost a mile from home with no sidewalks, and possibly past registered sex offenders.

After WAFB asked the school system about Hebert's concerns, they called back and said 180 Crestworth students will be getting bused either Friday or Monday. We are told the school system has 650 buses with about 25 held back as spares. The spokesman says if parents have problems, call the transportation department; they have added three more people to take calls.

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