MMSD families experience bus delays on first day of school

With a new school year comes new schedules and routines.
Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 10:34 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - With a new school year comes new schedules and routines. A number of bus delays in the morning and afternoon left some Madison Metropolitan School District parents feeling frustrated and wondering where their child was.

Around 8:40 p.m. Monday, the day before the first day of school, families in MMSD learned through an email from the district multiple bus routes would be delayed the next morning and afternoon. When the big day rolled around, many parents experienced issues getting their kids home. One of those parents was Dan Delaney, whose first and third grader spent over two hours waiting to come home.

“We got a message from a neighbor that had gotten a phone call from the school saying their child was still at school and the bus hadn’t come yet,” Delaney said.

Shortly after, the district sent out a notice about the delay. Delaney said his neighbors were able to get his kids around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“But we have friends that didn’t have that choice or some that tried to pick up their child as the bus was pulling away two hours after school let out,” Delaney said. “Those kids did not get let off until after five.”

Delaney says he brought his concerns to the district. He was then referred to talk to its new bus company ‘First Student.’

“To be let down like this on the first day with the youngest, most dependent children is unacceptable,” Delaney said.

At the end of the day, Delaney says he wants answers from the district or First Student bus company.

“I really want some accountability, whether it’s to First Student or the superintendent or to the transportation team,” he said. “This is unacceptable especially in a district where we approved a major referendum to update a lot of our schools.”

Delaney says he is nervous about what the rest of school year will hold. He mentions the district says these delays are “temporary” but says there is no plan in place.

A First Student spokesperson said in a statement in response to morning delays Tuesday that delays can happen “for a variety of reasons” and explained that they are more likely in the first few weeks of the new year.

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