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Kansas City kids wait in the cold for late school buses

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Some Kansas City Metro kids felt pretty chilly Friday morning when temperatures hovered around 60 degrees.

A family complains that their two children waited for a school bus that didn’t show up, and this isn’t the first time.

“I don’t want them out there for 15-20 minutes,” Candace Dawson said. “I told them to wait in the house. It was too cold to wait outside.’

Dawson’s two children didn’t catch their ride, which takes them from 52nd and Olive to King Elementary School. It is considered a ‘sweet bus stop’, one that is not an official pick up point, but arranged by a regular bus driver so children don’t have to walk so far.

Dawson said Friday morning is just the latest time the bus hasn’t arrived. Dawson added that her two children are the only children using the bus stop.

“I’ve tried to be very patient, but it’s definitely beyond frustration at this point,” Dawson lamented.

Dawson, who has three children altogether, said he has been monitoring the text and phone number system offered by Kansas City public schools for bus updates. Dawson said the principal at her school didn’t know about her either.

“Six or seven times we’ve had no bus and no communication that the bus wasn’t coming,” Dawson said.

Kansas City Public Schools contract with Student Transportation of America for bus service. The district told FOX4 that this doesn’t happen often and schools should inform parents of bus issues.

A nationwide shortage of school bus drivers continues, and transportation companies complain they are not receiving quality applicants.

KCPS spokesman Jonathan Salomon said regular drivers sometimes report sick.

“The KCPS team is also in the early stages of the process to develop their own school bus tracker app and be able to provide real-time notifications and status to parents of where their child’s bus is in real time,” Salomon said via text message.

Dawson said she’s also had trouble getting her kids home after school tutoring. Salomon said STA officials and school principals will make greater efforts to communicate with families.

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