Several local parents spend their mornings wondering if their child's school bus will show up, or, if they'll be late for work because they'll have to bring their kids to school. They say Birnie Bus has left their children out in the cold.
"The school bus hasn't come to our stop in over four days to pick up the kids, and when they do, it's either 15 or 20 minutes late, that's like them on time. The past couple days, they haven't shown up at all," says Sabrina Julian, who has a child at Proctor High School.
Utica parent, Colleen Thurston, says her kids routinely spend lengthy amounts of time outside in the freezing cold. Working in Rome, time is a luxury Thurston doesn't have in the morning.
"Their bus pickup is supposed to be 7:12, out there 10 minutes ahead of time. So when they're late, they're out there half hour or more, waiting," says Thurston. "Normally when I'm leaving for work is about when they come -- 7:30. So if they're still there when I leave, then I end up having to take them. Because you don't know if they're gonna show up or not."
Birnie Bus didn't return a call Thursday, or, a message left in person at the Rome office. However, a Utica School District official, says the district feels the parents' pain.
"The school district shares the parents' frustrations. We are imploring Birnie Bus to take any and all steps to provide the services our students, parents and school district are entitled to receive, as per our contract," said Steven Falchi, administrative director of curriculum and instruction, K-12. Falchi says the school district has met with Birnie Bus numerous times to address parents' concerns, most recently, Thursday morning, Dec. 5.