Parents frustrated at school district's bus policy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Parents frustrated at school district's bus policy

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With school back in session, a lot of parents are trusting a bus driver to transport their child to and from school safely.

But with that trust also comes frustration.

Nearly 6,000 students use the school bus system in the Waterloo Community School District.

The district reports it's responsible for more than 80 routes.

State law requires students to be picked up at the bus stop closest to their home address or their licensed daycare provider.

That means students can't be picked up at a stop near their grandparent's house unless their grandparents are a licensed childcare provider in the state.

"It's terrible!" said Jodi Bauler who has three children in the Waterloo School District.

"We looked into daycare. It's going to cost us $150 a month just to have our children,our two youngest children, dropped off at daycare for an hour before school. And we were really trying to save money. Every dollar counts, and it's ridiculous. Their grandparents are very capable taking care of them," she said.

Director of School and Community Relations at the Waterloo Community School District, Tara Thomas, said she understands the frustrations, but that the district is following the law.

"Personally as a parent I can't imagine thinking that I should have the ability to get my child picked up or dropped off at any address I choose. I would fall to the home address as the guideline that the district would use, and then I would just have to try to make family accommodations around that. And that's the law," said Thomas.

Still, it seems like every parents has ideas on what could make the school bus system better.

"If they could put more buses on, if they could get them to school faster, if they could have those stops where it's most convenient for the families where the kids don't have to walk three blocks, where their parents don't have to get in a car and drive them to their bus stop...I mean, I thought that's the way it was supposed to be and you know, more frequent stops would be amazing," said Bauler.

The Waterloo School District said it's doing the best it can, and that it actually goes above what state law requires.

"I have looked over some of the policies of districts across Eastern Iowa, and I can tell you that not only is Waterloo complying with the state regulations, we are similarly offering what many districts do. But beyond that, we're taking extra steps to give parents options that other districts don't," said Thomas.

Thomas said one of those options is providing bus transportation to students who live a mile or more away from their school when state law actually only requires the district to provide bus services to students who live two or more miles away.

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