Bus drivers need new bell system

Published 6:41 pm Saturday, March 16, 2013

To the editor:

I am writing in regards to staggering the bell system in schools.

I am a bus driver and a parent, too. I know the frustration of buses being late or the driver being out of work. I know this from both sides.

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I am fortunate that I can take my kids with me on the bus. But I also understand as a parent the frustration of the bell system and how it can affect people in so many different ways.

What parents do not understand is what can possibly happen if the proposed new system of school starting times is not approved. If this is not passed, then bus drivers are likely to lose all their benefits. And if this happens, Suffolk Public Schools may very well lose a lot more drivers than are already missing.

Some bus drivers are here for the benefits. Due to their circumstances, benefits often are not available through other means. If we lose our benefits, then bus drivers will leave to seek other employment to get the benefits needed for families.

This would result in more children at the bus stop waiting on their buses. This would also result in children being even later getting home, as drivers will have to double up more than they do now to cover runs of the drivers who had to leave the system.

Yes, the staggering bell system means that children will arrive at school and at home at different times than they do now, but without the new system, we may be worse off than we are now.

As a parent and driver, I ask that we try and look at this system from all sides and not just one side.

Robin Patterson