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District responds and apologizes for Transportation concerns

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dear Montclair Families and Caregivers,

I sincerely apologize for any concerns or inconvenience that your family has experienced because of issues that the district is having with busing our students. The Montclair Board of Education and administration take very seriously the charge of safely transporting our students to and from school and in a timely manner.

While I don’t believe in making excuses, I do think it necessary to explain that this summer we had a lot of transition with staffing in transportation and a change in service providers. These changes created a “perfect storm,” which individually would have had an impact, but collectively have resulted in our current situation. Clearly, this situation is unacceptable.

We know that some families have been unable to reach the transportation department to report an issue and that is because department members are working through issues with other families. To support the transportation department in helping our families, Central Office has allocated secretarial staff to answer phones, take concerns and make certain that the transportation manager and her assistant receives the messages. We are all working to assist the department in swift resolutions to problems.

We believe that many of our bus issues are resolved and know that some are not. Business Administrator Emidio D’Andrea offers that any families with unresolved busing concerns that are not related to a change of bus stop, may contact him by email (edandrea@montclair.k12.nj.us) or phone (973-509-4053) after there has been an attempt to speak with someone in the transportation department. We want you to know that transportation can best resolve an issue. Please call only as requested above. Dissatisfaction with a stop does not constitute an emergency and cannot be a priority. We will certainly address those concerns, but at a later time.

We have also listened to suggestions from our families. Going forward, we will send bus routes earlier in the summer. This should help us in correcting any normal problems that occur when a district buses over 3,500 students. We know that the busing contractors were not able to do thorough test runs of bus routes because of the delay in getting the routes awarded/assigned. That will not be an issue next year. Further, our transportation staff will receive any new training or support that they need in order to plan and implement busing in our school district. Finally, we have identified that there needs to be better communication between registration and transportation. Administrators for those departments have already begun to develop a corrective plan to improve that communication.

Sincerely,
Barbara Pinsak
Interim Superintendent

Updated: 9/25/2017