Charter school principal reacts to DPS’ plan to help alleviate bussing issues

DAYTON — Dayton Public Schools (DPS) is rolling out a new plan in an attempt to tackle busing issues that have been the center of issues with area charter schools this school year.

News Center 7 has heard about the inconsistencies in how DPS buses its students all school year.

“This morning alone, I had three busses that didn’t show,” Alyse Pennington, Horizon Science Academy principal, said Friday.

>> RELATED: Ohio Department of Education finds DPS in ‘non-compliance’ over busing issues

Pennington and parents, like Shatona Baker, are near their breaking point. Baker said parents never know if their kid’s bus is coming.

“If the bus is supposed to be here at 7:45, why am I getting at 7:45 [that] there’s no bus,” Baker asked.

To address this recurring issue, DPS has rolled out a new plan. In a statement to News Center 7, Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli said the district would be renovating its transportation hub to give bus drivers more amenities.

Additionally, the district has hired a new Director of Transportation, who began this month.

“Having someone in this role will further assist the department in carrying out its duties efficiently and effectively,” Lolli’s statement read.

Lastly, the district recently approved an attendance bonus for bus drivers. Drivers with perfect attendance will receive one hour of additional pay for every day worked.

“In previous years, an attendance bonus was used as an effort to improve driver attendance. Although it was stopped because the results were not significantly different, the district is hopeful a new bonus will help improve driver attendance,” Lolli said.

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Pennington called the district’s plan “a little concerning.”

“Great start by finally recognizing you hard working drivers, but maybe you should incentivize that a little bit more,” Pennington said.

The plan is meant to retain and bring in more bus drivers since there a national shortage, but parents are on the fence.

“Its an understatement, but we’ll see,” Baker said.

Pennington told News Center 7 that she wants the district back in charge of their bus routes. She said they have been outsourcing to another company which was the start of these issues.