SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Springdale parents and grandparents remain upset following the Springdale School District’s decision to create new bus routes this school year. The district calls the new routes “fixed routes” that have been created due to a significant shortage of bus drivers.

The school year started for Springdale School District students Monday. Tamara Campbell has grandkids that live in Rivers Edge RV Park. She said she had to take off work to take her grandkids and other kids in the area to school.

Campbell’s main concern is with kids having to walk a long distance through the woods or across a busy highway to the new bus stop.

“30 minutes for the supposedly shortest route, which is through a wooded area. I told that’s very unsafe. We are not doing that,” said Campbell.

She’s equally concerned about young kids walking along Highway 412.

“Anybody can just pull over and pick them up. There are no stoplights there. There are no stop lights for miles,” said Campbell.

Campbell said the district has told her and her daughter to drive the kids to and from the bus stop or to carpool, but for many, that’s not an option.

“For them [the Springdale School District] to say, well, the parents have to figure it out. If parents in the whole RV park are working, what are you supposed to do?” said Campbell.

Misty Piazza is a mom in the Springdale School District. The new bus stop this year is about half a mile from her home. She drove her eighth grader to the bus stop on the first day of school, but the bus never came.

This impacted not only her kid but a number of kids waiting at the stop for the bus to come.

“Each of the kids go to tell their name and say, the bus didn’t pick them up. Then, they were all scrambling to get ahold of their parents to find a way to get to school,” said Piazza.

Piazza is also worried about her kids walking a long distance.

“I’m worried about kids having to walk the streets and avoid getting hit by a car. I”m worried about children being abducted, which is becoming a very big issue in our area. I’m worried about the cold and hot temperatures,” said Piazza.

When Piazza’s daughter was dropped off at the bus stop after school Monday, she was 30 minutes late. Piazza said the issues with school buses is unacceptable.

The school district issued a statement addressing parents’ concern Tuesday.

Springdale School District understands the importance of providing reliable transportation to and from school. The school district has transitioned to fixed bus routes due to a bus driver hiring shortage.

Springdale Schools is listening to families to understand their transportation needs. District staff are working with those families on a case by case basis to provide the best possible transportation plan we can at this time. Springdale Schools has 58 routes plus 19 special education routes. We encourage parents and guardians to work with their school and the transportation office to confirm their drop off locations.

SPRINGDALE SCHOOL DISTRICT

The Springdale School District also tells KNWA/FOX24 News that some of the current bus routes may still be incorrect on the transportation website due to a technical error by the third-party vendor. If you feel like your route is wrong, the district encourages you to contact the transportation office at 479-750-8830.