PBC’s public schools don’t want your kid skipping the bus Monday

A school bus leaves the Central Bus Compound for the final test run of the routes before dawn Monday, August 8, 2016. The school district is hoping to avoid the transportation problems that plagued the start of school last year. The routing system that was blamed for much of last year's troubles has been changed. The district has more than 700 drivers hired for the start of school, with a higher starting salary they hope will cut down on turnover. And, in addition, the district has 60 new buses; all the buses now have GPS and a working alarm. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

A school bus leaves the Central Bus Compound for the final test run of the routes before dawn Monday. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

UPDATE: The website is back up again.

UPDATE: The website where parents can find information on school bus routes has crashed, hours after it went live this morning. The school district now says information on bus routes will not be available until 5 p.m.

The head of Palm Beach County’s public school system doesn’t want your student skipping the bus stop on the first day of school this year – even if you feel inclined to make the drop-off yourself.

He also warned of the likelihood of isolated bus problems in the opening days.

As the school district works to avoid a repeat of last year’s school bus crisis, Superintendent Robert Avossa is asking for all bus-riding students to be at their stops when classes begin Monday.

Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa talks about the upcoming school year, enrollment, teachers, new programs and transportation issues during a Back to School press conference held on a school bus Monday, August 8, 2016. The school district is hoping to avoid the transportation problems that plagued the start of school last year. The routing system that was blamed for much of last year's troubles has been changed. The district has more than 700 drivers hired for the start of school, with a higher starting salary they hope will cut down on turnover. And, in addition, the district has 60 new buses; all the buses now have GPS and a working alarm. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa talked about transportation issues this week during a news conference on a school bus. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

The reason: Administrators say having a full load on the opening days of classes helps them to figure out more quickly where they need to make route adjustments.

“We do ask that parents allow their children to ride the bus the first day of school,” Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa said last week. “It allows us to get a sense of balancing loads.”

“I know the first day of school, obviously parents want to bring their kids to school,” he said. “It’s an exciting time. But we are encouraging individuals to allow children to ride their bus the first day of school so we get a sense of how many students will be riding the bus.”

At the same time, Avossa warned parents that all school districts experience some bus problems in the first week of classes.

Even in the best school systems, he said,  it can “take between 10 and 15 days to iron out the small wrinkles.”

Transportation officials have worked all summer to eliminate the primary factors behind last year’s crisis, including the botched rollout of a new routing system, a shortage of bus drivers and ill-conceived changes to the start times at several schools.

Obviously, Avossa’s request to parents to bus their kids early and often is strictly optional. Parents are free to decide when to bus their kids based on what’s best for their families.

As parents prepare for the start of school Monday, it’s the first time that they don’t have to register their child for a bus route.

Beginning today, bus stops, routes and drop-off times are expected to be posted online here.

Parents can also get bus stop information directly from their child’s school.

 

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