CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va., -- A man who drove hundreds of students to and from school for more than a decade in Chesterfield County said he retired due to the problems plaguing the school district's transportation department.
Drew Story stated he was employed as a Chesterfield school bus driver for 12 years, but retired on October 1 just weeks after the first day of school.
"It was a privilege to do the job, but no more," Story said.
Story was among a handful of individuals who spoke during public comment at the School Board meeting on Tuesday night.
"[Driving buses] became delivering a product, delivering a service - like we don’t deliver children we deliver customers," he described.
More than a month into the school year, some Chesterfield County parents tell CBS 6 Problem Solvers that buses are still showing up late and sometimes not at all.
“So many times, [my daughter] was supposed to be home and she wasn’t there. I don’t know where she is, what going on, so I had to put a tracking app on her phone, so I can find her at all times. I shouldn't have to do that, I should be able to trust the bus,” said parent Jessica Collins.
Some parents believe the new school start times have taken this situation to another level.
That’s why Chesterfield mom Kelly Rieder organized this a change.org petition that already has more than 700 signatures.
“I’ll be at the school board meeting tonight asking that they revert back to last year’s schedule in our area because this is not working,” said Rieder. “I know it’s not going to fix all the problems, we still had problems last year. But I do know, by doing that you decrease the amount of bus drivers that you need."
Story attributed the county's effort to modernize bus routes as a major contributing factor for the lateness of buses.
"You don’t have time. You’re 15 to 20 minutes late from this school to this school to this school. Constantly late," Story stated.
However, Karle Goodman was one of four bus drivers recognized at Tuesday's meeting for outstanding driver performance.
Goodman, a driver at Chesterfield Schools for two years, said his colleagues are working hard for your children despite the issues.
"There’s a lot of traffic going around this county, we have to deal with the traffic, and new time schedules," Goodman explained. "Everybody is giving their best effort."
More than a dozen upset bus drivers, who declined to be interviewed for fear of losing their jobs, also showed up to the meeting.
"During the School Board’s work session, the School Board discussed with transportation staff ongoing concerns related to the topics mentioned during public comment," a spokesman told CBS 6.
Several of the board members called for action on part of the transportation department - demanding that the issues be corrected by the next school board meeting.