Bus issues smoothing out for district

Passenger lists, recording access among new concerns

Kobussen Buses appears to be getting the hang of transporting students in the Shawano School District.

Three months after angry parents spoke out about transportation issues on the first day of school, T.J. Barbara, Kobussen’s transportation manager for Shawano, reported that his company is settling in, and the local base is fielding fewer calls.

In September, when school first started, the district had consolidated its two busing runs — one for elementary students and one for middle and high school students — into one run each morning and evening. That resulted in Kobussen, which had been awarded Shawano’s busing contract in the spring, deciding to cut and consolidate some spots to meet the district’s mandate of not having students on a bus for more than an hour at a time.

“Most of our issues are being resolved at a lower level,” Barbara told the Shawano School Board on Monday.

There are a couple of issues that the bus company is concerned about, Barbara said. A recent Department of Public Instruction audit revealed that the listings of students being picked up and dropped off at large-group stops and daycare centers are highly inaccurate, he said.

“I don’t even want to guess what our percentages are. I know it’s above 50 percent, but not much above that,” Barbara said. “I don’t know how to solve it.”

Part of the problem is that some students and their families change addresses but do not notify the bus company, Barbara said. Another factor is that some parents take their children to different stops depending on family schedules.

Barbara is also recommending that the district look at developing a policy regarding the audio and video recordings collected on buses. He said those are district property, not Kobussen’s, and he has had to deny parent requests to view and get copies of the recordings.

“I don’t have the authority to show a parent,” Barbara said. “You and your faculty do.”