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Frustrated parents voice school bus concerns — KCPS responds with new solutions

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- What's new with KC Public Schools this year? The district is the first to use a fleet of alternative fuel buses.

But what's not new? The deadline to enroll your student in district transportation. Yet still, hundreds of parents missed that deadline. But some say, it's for good reason.

"I think they should adapt to new technology," KC dad Vincent Eason said. "Everything should be online now."

Eason has two sons who attend two different KC public schools, but he missed the deadline for transportation enrollment.

"It's kind of ridiculous. I think the deadline should be a few weeks into the school year," he said. "It's not that easy for some parents to get their kids enrolled."

It was a process that mother Ramisha Mohammad also found difficult.

"I tried to call before I came to see what documents I need to bring, but the phone system isn't up to par," she said. "Now I have to come back."

Mohammad added that her children had a number of issues with school transportation in previous years.

"There's a lot of issues on the bus, and nothing gets resolved," she said. "I had problems with the bus driver. They don`t make sure the kids are sitting in the seats safely."

Frustrated parents have been listing their concerns, and the transportation director said he has some solutions.

"We set our initial deadline for July 31. We needed that time to get information out to the parents who have already enrolled," said Christopher Walls, transportation director for KCPS. "Those students will be guaranteed to have a bus stop within a quarter mile of their home on Day 1."

"If you've enrolled past that deadline, we will still have a bus stop for you, but it may be little further away than that," he said.

New stops will be added to the routes for the first four weeks of school.

"And we are moving to more of an online system," Walls said. "But to do an address update, you have to come in and talk to us. Once school starts you can do that on the campus."

These rules, Walls said, are in place for safety.

And as far as the negative feedback about previous bus drivers, they hired new ones.

"The service level they`re providing is just better. The new vehicles we've invested in have cost to them. We're really trying to change the way people look at Kansas City Public Schools," Walls said.

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