Late buses causing tardiness in Westchase

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla — Some buses in Hillsborough County are arriving late to pick kids up and the district says heavy traffic is to blame.

Parents say they are getting used to receiving an automated message from Alonso High School telling them their child was not present when roll was called.

"She’s either missed most of first period, or all of first period,” said Lori Ermatinger, who has a daughter in the 10th grade at Alonso High School.

Ermatinger has even considered talking to her boss about changing her work schedule so she can get her daughter to her Algebra class on time.

"I’ve literally walked out of a meeting one day because it was almost 8:30 a.m. just so I could try to get her to school a little bit sooner,” she said.

Another parent tells ABC Action News their son didn’t get picked up from their bus stop at Kingsbridge and Gretna Green Friday morning until 9:06 a.m., which is an hour and 20 minutes late.  

They feel missing valuable class time is hurting their grades.

"She’s a good student but she definitely was getting home and feeling a little bit behind because she had missed some of the classes,” said Ermatinger. She says the school has done a great job at keeping parents informed.

According to another message sent to parents by the school’s principal, 5 percent of kids — about 130 students — have been late to Alonso High making it impossible to start on time as a whole at 8:30 am. 

"We expect our students to be in school, on time every day and obviously they have been impacted by this,” said Ermatinger.

The district says traffic is why they’re running late, so starting on Monday, Sept. 17, 8-10 routes will pick kids up a few minutes earlier. They hope this helps the buses beat the congestion.

The district urges parents who aren’t sure if their kid's route is affected, to call the Transportation Department at 813-982-5500.

The district says it has plenty of bus drivers and that there is no shortage. They are also telling parents, for now, they will not allow student drop off in the front of the school. They hope that will only be temporary.

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