December 6, 2022

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Unreliable transportation, communication from Durham buses brews further uncertainty in parents | News

“If this was a standalone incident it would be a different situation, but this is a problem that we’ve been having since September of this yea…

SPOKANE, Wash. – While the end of the school year is fast approaching, the transportation problems that have plagued Spokane Public Schools are still rearing their ugly head.

Brandy Teilborg’s child attends Roosevelt Elementary School.

Friday was an early release day, students were released at 1:45 p.m. When her child’s bus didn’t arrive at their stop at Coeur d’Alene Park in Browne’s Addition on time, Teilborg started calling the school around 2:15 p.m. to see what was up.

“It was then when I found out that the bus was missing completely, it was in Coeur d’Alene, they had no replacement bus, and they had no answers,” Teilborg said.

The bus ended up arriving at the stop around 3:15 p.m., but the wondering, lack of communication and the questions have lasted much longer–especially considering the fact that Teilborg says this has happened 15 to 20 times this school year alone.

“If this was a standalone incident it would be a different situation, but this is a problem that we’ve been having since September of this year,” Teilborg said.

“Today after getting no answers for an hour and a half, I called the police,” Teilborg continued. “I don’t know what else you’re supposed to do. When your child is missing, you can’t reach them, the school has no answers and Durham won’t answer, I don’t know of any other solution than to call the police.”

KHQ reached out to Durham School Services to figure out what was going on, and they sent us this statement:

“We can confirm that students on Route 159 were on a field trip today in Idaho. Due to the shortage of drivers today and the complexity of an early release, services were running late. The children at Roosevelt were picked up around 3:10 p.m. today from our driver handling route 159, and they are on their way home now.

We apologize for the inconvenience this caused for all those that were affected by this delay.”

“It’s really frustrating, because like I said, I was on the news on Valentine’s Day,” Teilborg said. “Here we are, months and months later with the exact same problems.”

Teilborg shared the same frustrations in an interview with KHQ in February.

Since then the Spokane Public Schools Board of Directors has approved a handful of short-term solutions in an attempt to fix the district’s transportation woes.

Those short-term solutions include centralizing bus stops, expanding the walk-zone boundaries for middle and high schools and working with the Spokane Transit Authority to get high school students bus passes. 

But Teilborg says that’s not enough.

“You’re in charge of my child’s welfare,” Teilborg said. “There’s a contract in place from SPS to Durham, that [says] ‘you’re going to provide these services.’ If you only have 70 to 80 bus drivers when you need 170 or 180 bus drivers, then the contract needs to be null and void.”

Teilborg said her child won’t be using the bus next school year, but hopes to see a resolution soon for the sake of other children in the district.

“It’s not just problems, these are children’s lives at stake,” Teilborg said. “It’s been months and nobody cares, but they should. Before someone goes missing, before a child is on the news, someone should care now that these problems are happening.”

Spokane Public Schools is wrapping up the fourth year of its five year contract with Durham School Services this year. The contract is currently set to expire after the 2022-23 school year. It’s unclear what will happen after that.