SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KWNA/KFTA) – Some Springdale parents are upset following the Springdale School District’s decision to create new routes for buses this year. According to the district, the decision had to be made due to staffing shortages.
In a school board meeting tonight, the director of transportation, Kevin Conkin, said the decision was two years in the making, and it wasn’t an easy one to make. Still, parents aren’t happy. They’ve taken to social media voicing concern over long walks to the new bus stops and dangerous roads to walk down.
Gabby Mendez lives in a subdivision off Wagon Wheel Road. Parents who live in the subdivision gathered Tuesday night to talk about the new bus stop. Mendez said her and some others have talked with the district and didn’t get the answer they wanted.
“There’s a lot of traffic. Some people don’t even stop at the stop sign beside the church, and I think it’s very dangerous for them to be walking out there,” said Mendez.
Her kids all go to Shaw Elementary School and she said even if she felt like the road was safe, she wouldn’t want her young kids to walk the approximately 0.36 mile distance alone.
“I have little ones, and you know they’re not going to be on their toes 24/7 looking for cars,” said Mendez.
The bus stop used to be near the entrance of the subdivision. Now, some of the parents are saying their kids will have to walk up to nearly a mile to get to the bus stop. Neil Howard is another Springdale parent. He has two kids in high school, and like Mendez, doesn’t want his kids walking Wagon Wheel Road either.
“I can’t imagine any parent letting their kid walk along Wagon Wheel to get to a bus stop at 6:45 in the morning,” said Howard.
He also asks district officials to put themselves in his shoes.
“Bring your kids out here. Make them walk the eighth of a mile. I don’t think they would do it,” said Howard.
All of the parents who live in the subdivision off Wagon Wheel Road just want their kids to be safe.
“To give us our bus stop back. It’s literally not that far. It’s right in front of our subdivision,” said Mendez.
Trent Jones with the Springdale School District said the main issue has been trying to find bus workers. Last year, many routes had to be canceled. The decision to consolidate bus routes was to limit the route cancelations.
Transportation director Conkin said as more bus drivers are hired, they will be able to expand routes back into the impacted neighborhoods.
According to Jones, the district is trying hard to hire drivers for this school year. It’s a five hours a day position, and the district is hoping college students will consider it. The starting salary is $13,910. Full-time drivers receive a $20 per day incentive bonus and a monthly perfect attendance bonus.
You can apply online to be a bus driver here. Click on Apply Now. Scroll down to “browse job openings”, then click on bus driver FTE 1.0. You will need to create an account to complete the application. If you have questions or concerns you can contact the Springdale Transportation Office at 479-750-8830 for assistance and to hear more about qualifications.