Mis-positioned school bus prompts outcry in Purdy

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Purdy school dismissal strategy prompts city council discussion

A discussion at the Purdy City Council meeting about access to homes blocked by school buses followed resolution of the issue, though information of the fix was not passed on to city officials.

Alderman Scott Redshaw reported residents in two houses on the west side of Gabby Gibbons Drive complained to him that school buses blocked access to their homes in the afternoon as the school year began. A state law forbidding motorists from passing school buses offered no options or potential for a waiver. Redshaw said the homeowners were frustrated enough to put their home up for sale.

Police Chief Jackie Lowe said the Highway Patrol was monitoring the new loading and unloading strategy at the school, which initially had parents backing out and parking on Highway C. The school subsequently made adjustments, he said, and improved the situation. Lowe said he issued two tickets in the process.

School Superintendent Steven Chancellor later said the bus problem stemmed from a new bus driver parking in the wrong place. Once the problem was discovered, the driver backed up to the proper holding spot and resolved the issue quickly, Chancellor said.

Redshaw was asked to speak to the homeowners about submitting a formal complaint to the city. Redshaw said all four homeowners on the west side of Gabby Gibbons had complained. Aldermen quickly put forward a range of alternative dismissal strategies that the school could adopt to avoid problems.

Chancellor said the bus issue was a simple misunderstanding. The current strategy of having parents pick up their children out the gym entrance placed school officials in a better position to make sure students get into the right cars, thus ensuring their safety. That, he said, is the school districtís top priority.

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