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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Superintendent sorry for bus confusion



6 p.m. UPDATE: Still Busy. The Gradebook is calling it a day.

5 p.m. UPDATE: Still busy.

4 p.m. UPDATE: Still busy.

3 p.m. UPDATE: Transportation hotline is ringing rapid busy. Call not connecting.

1:30 p.m. UPDATE: Just tried the transportation hotline again and heard a message that all circuits are busy. Please try again.

EliasmHillsborough Superintendent MaryEllen Elia is "apologizing profusely" to parents who are frustrated by the lack of information about their children's bus stops as the clock ticks down to the start of school on Monday.

"I don't believe this was up to our usual standards," Elia said. "I want to apologize for that."

She said the district has extended weekend hours at a transportation call center following widespread reports that parents haven't received notice in the mail. But the hotline at (813) 982-5500 has been working intermittently. As of noon today, it was ringing rapid busy and calls were not connecting. School officials have asked for patience and suggest trying during lower volume times.

Elia acknowledged the district should have done better with communication to parents during this year's overhaul of bus routes in south and central Tampa, the northern city and northwest Hillsborough.

She said schools should have alphabetical lists detailing student bus information. The district has pledged to pick up any student standing at a bus stop during the first week of school and make sure the child gets to the appropriate campus.

Elia said she has increased staffing at the transportation call center, which will be open from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. today, Saturday and Sunday. The wait time was 14 minutes earlier this morning, she said.

Parents also can submit questions about their child's bus eligibility online at their district's website.

-- Letitia Stein, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:53am]


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