Busing issues continue in Dayton Public, Kettering schools

Montgomery County Education Services Center superintendent believes workforce issues will continue.

Administrators with the Kettering City Schools and Dayton Public Schools continue to work through student busing problems in the second week of school.

Kettering parents have reported frequent issues with the parent communication app Kettering is using, Stopfinder, where parents can’t log in or the app won’t show parents where the kids are. Kettering transportation director Todd Silverthorn said the district is working with the developer to fix the problems.

Silverthorn said there is typically a learning curve to the beginning of the school year, and asked parents to be patient with the district.

“We’ll get it there. It just takes a little bit of time to process,” Silverthorn said.

ExploreHuber Heights school district spends COVID relief funds on learning trips, lobster dinner

Dayton Public Schools superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said the second week of busing has improved compared to the first week. Last week, Marie Winfrey, a school bus driver and president of the drivers’ union, said at a board meeting that on the first day, routes went down dead ends and the district didn’t clearly communicate where bus stops were.

A charter school principal, Alyse Pennington, said DPS buses, which take her students to and from the school, have dropped kids off in the morning more than half an hour late for the beginning of school, and buses have come to pick kids up more than two hours past the time school let out.

Lolli said routes have been added and adjusted and will continue to do so over the next few weeks. The district is also hiring more bus drivers and paraprofessionals.

“Overall, the second week has seen improvements in transportation, and the district is confident those improvements will continue,” Lolli said.

Silverthorn is also the director of the Ohio Association for Pupil Transportation and talks to districts across Ohio about busing. He said many districts are seeing similar problems.

ExploreRough first day: Dayton bus drivers, school principal criticize DPS busing

He blamed the issues on ongoing workforce issues, and a change in the state law last year that put more burden on public school districts to bus students to charter and private schools.

Montgomery County Education Services Center superintendent Shannon Cox says she thinks there will be more shortages coming to the state.

Cox said many districts are already competition with Amazon and FedEx for drivers, as bus drivers in Ohio have to have a commercial driver’s license, the same level of license required to drive a semi-truck or deliver packages.

Because those drivers are in such high demand, school districts have struggled to compete. Cox said she thinks adding Intel, who plans to build a new campus in Licking County, will make the shortage harder unless something is done.

Cox said the first weeks of school are always difficult, but workforce issues have made figuring out a new school year harder.

“It’s always a guessing game, but it’s a bigger guessing game now because of workforce issues,” Cox said.

About the Author