RAYTOWN, Mo. — Some Raytown parents say their kids were left in the cold Monday without a ride to school on the first day back to in-person classes. It turns out a change in district bus policy this year now has families scrambling.
Westridge Elementary in the Raytown district is now welcoming back students full-time after starting school virtually.
“The reason why I wanted him to go back to school is because he’s one of those kids, which most kids are, they learn better in person,” parent Amber Bachar said.
Raytown posted on its website that bus schedules would come out by noon Friday, but Bachar and other parents said they didn’t hear anything until after 4:30 p.m., right as offices were closing for the weekend.
“It said 8:55 pick-up. So I was like, OK. We were up there at like 8:30 just in case,” Bachar said.
But the bus never came. She decided to drive her son to Westridge and looked back through messages when they arrived.
“I got another email late Friday and it said ‘WP-Parent Zone,’ which I didn’t even know what that was about,” Bachar said.
She later learned that meant her son can no longer ride the bus. As a single working mom, it’s now putting her in a big bind to find a ride on short notice.
“I can’t quit my job to stay home and take my son back and forth to school because then I’m going to lose my apartment,” Bachar said.
Other parents also vented on the district’s Facebook page, sharing similar experiences.
Raytown referred FOX4 to its COVID-19 response plan. Those documents show a majority of district parents surveyed indicated they’d like limited capacity on buses to allow for better social distancing, even if it meant their own child couldn’t ride.
Raytown’s plan says: “Ridership eligibility will be expanded from its current 0.5 mile to up to 1.25 miles for elementary and up to 2 miles for secondary … It is likely that some students who were eligible in the past to ride a bus will no longer be eligible.”
Bachar and her son live 0.9 miles from school and are now booted off the route.
She said with the changes, the district never should’ve sent her false bus pick-up times and communicated more clearly so families could prepare.
“It’s like they should’ve told us before now so we could’ve at least planned it,” Bachar said.
She says her son has a babysitter who doesn’t drive that could help out if he’s allowed to switch back to virtual school. In the meantime, she’s reaching out to friends in hopes of finding a ride to school now that the bus isn’t an option.
In a statement, Raytown Schools also told FOX4:
“We encourage our families to reach out to our Transportation Department to allow us to address questions unique to each family and help us reassess needs within our COVID guidelines.”