RCSD leaders still working on transportation plan after another setback

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester City School District leaders declared Tuesday that they’re still working on a plan to transport students to class when school resumes, even after another setback, which prompted an intense outburst when the Rochester School Board met that evening.

“Five years, six-year-olds, seven years we’re gonna be walking in the dark and cold. Respond to those families,” exclaimed School Board Member Beatriz LeBron, as some board members tried to move to other business.

The alarm and outrage picked up after Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small revealed another new setback as the RCSD tries to bus all its students to school. At 4 p.m. Tuesday she said, she’d been informed that nine additional bus drivers had resigned.

That makes a total of 36 school bus routes with no drivers, affecting, very importantly, 174 students with disabilities, who the district is required to prioritize. That means bus service will have to be taken away from more other students.

“And there’s no amount of planning that could’ve prevented what happened today,” sighed Rochester School Board President Van White.

“It’s frustrating because we have hundreds of families who don’t know where we stand and don’t know what’s going to happen on Thursday, Friday, Monday,” LeBron said.

Already short some 70 drivers, the district had just announced a new deal with the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority to bus 3,500 more students, so students at five high schools will be able to get there in person.

This latest curveball sends the superintendent and her staff back to the drawing board.

“We are working on what we are calling our pivot plans,” Myers-Small said, “knowing that drivers could resign. We need to go back to our war room, as we’re calling it, and work on solutions. That will be revealed tomorrow [Wednesday], what our next steps are.”

For now, students who can get there can start class in person on Thursday, or go remotely.

And the plan is for all students to come to class by Monday, once the district works through the newest resignations.

“People are afraid,” White said. “They’re frightened. And they’re making decisions based on that. And nine drivers make a decision that’s going to affect hundreds of children.”