FORT PIERCE, Fla. - According to Westwood High School parent Dianna Dashner, getting her sons to their school involves a very early wakeup call-- and the morning routine just got even earlier.
"The transportation department has now changed the bus routes twice this year without proper notification to any of the parents," she said.
She said the pickup time first changed about a month ago.
"The bus driver passed a note around to all the kids on the bus," she said. "They didn't get a single sheet of paper to bring home to the parents, and it was the bus time was changing from 6:35 in the morning to 6:18 in the morning. "
Dianna said all the students missed their school bus Tuesday morning, because three different families had no idea that the bus pickup time had been rescheduled to 6:05 a.m. For the future, that means her sons have to be standing at the bus stop by 5:55 a.m.
"Without any notification and five kids standing at the bus stop, we're told by a passing bus that the bus had already come," she explained. "It's very dangerous out there in the dark, you can't see the kids. "
She said a simple phone notification would have been enough.
"Lord knows we get a phone call for every event, every meeting that's happening throughout St. Lucie County, whether we want it or not," said Dashner. "But never did we get anything about this time change. "
The head of St. Lucie County Schools Department of Transportation, Don Carter, did not respond to our attempts to contact him directly.
Janice Karst, spokesperson for the school district, said Carter is looking into the situation to ensure it does not happen again. She said a shortage of qualified bus drivers combined with millions of dollars of state budgetary cuts has forced the district to consolidate routes, but that is no excuse for not communicating effectively with parents.