NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Transportation troubles at some North Little Rock schools lead to worried parents and an increased police presence during this first week of school.
This year, the school district says they changed bus pick up times to be earlier for elementary and middle schoolers so the drivers would have time to finish the routes before picking up another set of students.
Day one already came with concerns.
“Her first day of school was a pretty horrible experience,” Matt Baum said.
The classes weren’t the problem for Baum’s 15-year-old daughter, it was getting her home that caused trouble he says.
“She calls in a panic because once again the bus isn’t there,” Baum said.
“She had to walk to Laman Library.”
It’s a scenario Baum says played out many times last year.
“For it to happen on the first day of this year it’s just, I had higher hopes.”
North Little Rock School District acknowledges the transportation delays saying in a statement “this is a result of increased traffic and new routes. We make adjustments when needed to be efficient.”
“I understand working out kinks and stuff like that,” Baum said.
But according to an email from NLRPD Asst. Chief Tracy Roulston to all School Resource Officers (SRO), they’re having to adjust as well.
Though the department says additional patrols near schools is normal during the first week — Wednesday morning they’re being asked to stay until 5 pm.
The email reads “Yesterday afternoon patrol spent over two hours dealing with missing children. Mostly from the middle school.”
Though changes are now being made for a smoother school year, these first few speed bumps are not how Baum wanted it to start for his daughter.
“Hopefully yesterday isn’t setting a precedent for the whole year,” he said.
Baum says he hopes for some kind of bus notification system so they can be aware of any scheduling changes.
Police say they helped with finding children and everyone was accounted for and safe.
The school district asks for patience and understanding during this time.
NLRSD full statement:
“The beginning of the school year always brings about some changes and possible delays. Yesterday, we experienced some delays with transportation. This is a result of increased traffic and new routes. We make adjustments when needed to be efficient. We ask for your patience and understanding during this time.”