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Lynchburg City Schools making progress on transportation issues

Software issues and a bus driver shortage caused challenges

Frustration over transportation has been a hot topic to start the school year in Lynchburg.
Frustration over transportation has been a hot topic to start the school year in Lynchburg.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Frustration over transportation has been a hot topic to start the new school year in Lynchburg.

Lynchburg City Schools admitted to 10 News Monday that while they’re still facing transportation issues, things have improved since the first day of school on August 11th, and they hope to have everything resolved within two days.

John Collins, director of the LCS Information Technology Department, said an online portal, where parents could look up their bus information, caused a lot of the issues.

“That tool was based on address, and we have a lot of students who are invited or go to other schools that they are not necessarily in-zone for and that was a source of a lot of the confusion,” explained Collins.

School leaders had to turn to other ways to communicate with families.

“We pulled [that parent portal] down when we realized that it was confusing for parents or had bad data and we’re looking now with the vendor to schedule a relaunch,” said Collins.

We asked LCS if leaders knew students were returning to the classrooms, did they test that new, online tool?

“Everything was returning good information. I don’t know if we had tested thoroughly enough [for] invited [students],” said Collins.

Those invited students forced LCS to combine some existing routes and generate new ones.

Steve Gatzke, Senior Director of Finance and Operations, said they called bus drivers in on Sunday, August 22 for a test run.

“Because we had generated new routes for all of the bus drivers, we had them come in [Sunday], pick up their new route schedules, and they actually ran their routes,” said Gatzke.

A bus driver shortage added to the issues.

Gatzke said LCS needed 15-to-20 more drivers to start the year. They’ve received some applicants since, with some of them being interviewed on Monday.


About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.