October 27, 2021

Busing back to normal

Kevin Conlon/City Editor

A bus arrives Sept. 5 at Barry Primary School. The Cortland Enlarged City School District improved bus transportation after the first days of the school year, which were marred by delays. A new transportation system was initiated after the district closed Parker and Virgil elementary schools in June and remaining schools were reconfigured.

More than a month after a chaotic start of school for Cortland, the new busing system for the Cortland Enlarged City School District appears to be working out.

After closing the Parker and Virgil elementary schools in June, the district redistributed its kindergarten to sixth-grade students into the three remaining primary schools — Barry (kindergarten to second grade), Smith (third and fourth) and Randall (fifth and sixth grades). This required a new transportation system, which debuted to confusion on the first few days of school.

Some of those problems included students arriving home by bus more than an hour later than scheduled — and in some cases more than two hours. Backups were also experienced by parents who chose to pick up and drop off their children; the Barry school appeared to be the epicenter of these delays, which then caused further backups in the overall system.

Evan Faulkenbury, who has a 5-year-old daughter in the Barry Primary School, said he and his wife had problems picking up their daughter on the first two or three days of school; his wife, had reported waiting about 40 minutes to sign out her daughter out of school on the first day.

But after those first few days, dismissal went much more smoothly, he said.

“It seems like they quickly realized the source of the problem, grasped what was wrong and made the necessary changes,” Faulkenbury said.

Christopher Caldwell, whose 6-year-old son sat on a bus parked in front of the Barry school for two hours on the first day of classes, said the situation for his family improved dramatically after that first day.

“I think they have really done a good job,” Caldwell said. “The buses have been on time since then.”

Superintendent of Schools Michael J. Hoose said the district managed to correct the initial problems and that today the system was running well.

“Things are going better. We’re still refining it, but it’s exponentially better than it was,” Hoose said. “Obviously we’re always trying to improve but I think its working as well as it can with this model.”