Parents of TUSD students unhappy with bus issues after some miss first day of school

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 9:28 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -What was supposed to be an exciting first day of school for those in the Tucson Unified School District turned sour for one family, and it’s all due to the bus hub system announced yesterday.

Sixth grader Alyson was excited to start the new school year, as she got an invitation to the gifted and talented education program at Doolen Middle School.

But she never made it.

And now her mother wants answers, like many other parents across TUSD.

With a backpack ready to go and new clothes, new friends are ready to be made on the first day of school.

But Alyson did not get to do that.

“She got up at 5 in the morning to get ready for school because she’s so excited to get going with her day and she sat there,” says Kiley Giuffre.

Due to a bus driver shortage announced by TUSD officials this week, parents are required to take their kids to the new designated “hub bus stops,” or find another way to get to school.

Kiley says the transportation department gave her the runaround. Finally a location was nailed down, but for her it’s twelve miles away from home.

But even after Alyson made it to the stop, the bus never came for her.

“In effect she waited for an hour for a bus that was never coming for her because when I did get in touch with transportation while driving my oldest to school, they said ‘route 17 doesn’t exist.’”

Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo asked schools to excuse absences for the first week, but parents are hoping for a timeline of when transportation will resume to normal.

Alyson already has one absence under her belt, that Kiley believes could have been avoided altogether.

“When we accepted the gifted and talented education program, it was because transportation would be provided and I would still be able to work the hours I’m supposed to work. And she would be safe with TUSD bus system. It doesn’t feel like that is a safe option anymore.”

KOLD did reach out to TUSD to see how they felt the first day went. They say “most buses and schools ran smoothly.”

We also asked for the number of absences today due to the buses, and were told they “do not have access to that information at this time.”

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