Transportation problems unfolded Thursday afternoon following the first day of school in the Cortland Enlarged City School District, with delays up to 45 minutes and kids dropped off at the wrong place.
This was also the first day for the district’s new configuration, in which two elementary schools, Virgil and Parker, were closed, and students from kindergarten through sixth grade were redistributed among the Barry, Smith and Randall schools.
After school busing did not go well, if a petition posted by Alan McCormick on Change.org — “Immediate Emergency Task Force and Forum On Cortland City School Transportation” — is any indication. The petition had 619 signatures and was climbing steadily by late morning.
The petition alleges that “a new transportation plan following a school merger that compromised the safety and security of the school’s children.”
District Superintendent Michael J.Hoose acknowledged widespread transportation problems.
“There were several significant delays, and it was a combination of the normal start of the school year and the new configuration of the schools and buses rotating between the schools,” Hoose said. “We had issues, and we’re working very hard to solve them. And we’ll get it right.”
Jazmin Barber of Virgil, who helps run the Child Development Center after school program at the former Virgil school,said she witnessed major busing problems in Virgil.
“Some of our kids were 45 minutes late, and some of the kids got dropped off at the wrong spots,” she said. Barber also said one student was dropped off at the district bus garage and another, who was supposed to be dropped off at her program, was instead dropped off at home.
Hoose sought to assure parents that the problems would be fixed. “We’re working on it,” he said. “We just appreciate the patience that they have shown, and I promise we will get better.”