Transportation problems in Wilson County Schools are attracting the attention of the board.
Some parents have expressed their concerns about their children’s buses arriving at schools before the doors open. In November 2018, the start times for bus routes were moved 30 minutes later. The board approved the change on a 5-2 vote.
Zone 5 board member Larry Tomlinson is in favor of the later start. He refers to TN 109 in particular as being dangerous for children, especially with the construction that is going on.
“We have kids that are standing out on the road at 5:30 in the morning in the dark waiting on a school bus to come by,” said Tomlinson. “They aren’t getting home until 4:30 in the afternoon. Anything we can do to help this is what I am trying to achieve.”
Wilson County Schools Transportation Director Jerry Partlow said in an email response to questions that some of the problem might lie with the increasing number of students along with the lack of drivers.
“There are additional students riding the buses and it takes additional time to pick them up,” said Partlow. “Of course a few parents have expressed concern about the buses getting to the school before the doors open. We try to allow some additional time for traffic congestion or mechanical issues with the bus.”
Partlow said the goal is to get the children to school early so they have time to eat breakfast before class starts. According to Wilson County Schools PIO Bart Barker, students who are unable to get into buildings are still under adult supervision.
“All schools coordinate their bus duty responsibilities,” said Barker.
Partlow said what many people may not realize is that not all Wilson County Schools start and end at the same time. He also said the school system is looking to hire more bus drivers.
“We have one full-time route at six and a half hours, two part-time positions at five hours and six part-time substitute driver positions available,” said Partlow. “If someone wants to become a driver, just go to the Wilson County Schools website and apply through the human resources department. You must be 25 years old.”