17 Nov 50+ Parents Sign Petition To Remove Framingham Public Schoo…
FRAMINGHAM – Still unhappy with reliable school buses, parents have created a petition to remove the Framingham Public Schools Transportation Director.
The petition, which has been signed by about 50 parents over two days, is titled “petition to remove the Director of Transportation for the City of Framingham.”
“It has been nearly three months since the school year began, and there continues to be unresolved route issues. Our children are continuously late to school, which is having detrimental affects on their learning. It also makes many parents late to work, or forces them to miss work, due to having to wait for the bus to arrive or having to drive their children to school. Many students are also forced to wait at school long after the day has ended, due to buses arriving extremely late. With winter coming, it will only get worse. Enough is enough,” states the petition.
“The current Director of Transportation, Patricia DiSalle, has been in this position for two years. The past two years have been the worst yet regarding bus routes and communication to parents. She does not currently reside in – nor has she ever – lived in Framingham. She also does not have any experience with transportation or driving a school bus. She is extremely unqualified for this position,” states the petition.
“Please sign this petition to acknowledge that we will no longer accept this! We must make this change to rectify these busing issues. We need to be the voice for our children that are suffering,” states the petition.
Two out of every three students in the Framingham Public Schools take a school bus to and from school. There are more than 9,000 students in the public school district.
In 2016, Durham School Services was awarded a new, $29 million 5-year contract for bus services for Framingham Public Schools, as well as Saint Bridget School and the Christa McAuliffe Charter School. The contracts ends in 2021.
Speaking for Framingham Public Schools Executive Director of Finance and Operations, the district’s spokesperson posted on social media: “The FPS contractor Durham has a driver shortage which is the root cause of the issue contributing to the late buses. This is not the fault of any FPS staff. We absolutely share in the community frustration and just last week the District put Durham on notice. Durham insisted they have 7 new drivers starting soon which will solve many daily challenges.”
“While signing this petition is your right, it is also not fair to the hard working FPS employees involved with doing all they can to enforce Durham’s contract. We ask that you consider that this petition is redirecting anger in the wrong place before acting,” said the Director through the district’s communication director on social media.
Last October 2018, it was clear there were issues with the school contract as athletic buses were not showing up and students were continuously getting to school after the bell. The issues have not subsided this year.
Durham School Services said there is a national shortage of bus drivers. Durham told the School Committee last year that drivers were calling in sick or not showing up for work, along with the shortage of drivers.
In 2011, the Framingham School Committee, and then Town Meeting, voted to lay off 69 bus drivers, who were employed by Framingham, and go outside the district for transportation services.
The first bus contract was awarded to Durham, and then the second contract was awarded to Durham.
” Not fair to anyone. They had all summer to plan routes and find enough drivers. Then another 3 months to figure out or change bus stops to an earlier pickup so children are no longer late to school. Enough is enough,” wrote one parent in signing the public petition.