Chesterfield School leaders apologize for late school busses, overcrowding

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — The Chesterfield County School Board has issued a letter formally apologizing for a myriad of transportation issues during the first week of the school year. Throughout the first week, students across the county grappled with a school bus sliding into a ditch, severe bus delays both to and from schools, and 30 school bus driver vacancies.

Parents throughout the county described feelings of disappointment towards the lack of communication regarding when their children would be home – and why the problems continued to persist – while bus drivers said they were stressed and frustrated from having to carry nearly 70 students on a single bus load. 

The letter, sent by the Chesterfield County School board to parents on Friday night, reads as follows:

Team Chesterfield families,

We apologize.

In too many parts of our community, Chesterfield County Public Schools’ work this week has not met expectations. Yours or ours.

This week has not been a normal first week of school. There are a variety of issues at the root of the problem, some we anticipated and some we did not.  However, we are not here to make excuses. This has not been Chesterfield County Public Schools’ best performance.

As a School Board, we have worked behind the scenes with staff members to make corrections to late arrivals and dismissals. Many areas of our community have seen gradual improvements since Tuesday. However, in too many areas, there has not been enough improvement.

We continue to work with staff to address issues that are preventing our operations from running as smoothly as they should. Staff members will work this weekend and throughout the coming week to continue to tweak bus routes, pickup/delivery times and overcrowded buses, realizing that adding additional bus drivers to our contingent next week should help as well. The School Board will not be satisfied until our operations return to normal.

Again, we offer our humblest apologies. These have not been our best days; however, you have our commitment that we will continue to work hard to maintain or restore the trust you placed in us to serve your students.

Sincerely,

John M. Erbach
Chair, School Board

Robert W. Thompson
Vice Chair, School Board

Carrie E. Coyner
Bermuda District, School Board

Dianne H. Smith
Clover Hill District, School Board

Dr. Javaid E. Siddiqi
Midlothian District, School Board