Parents voice frustrations over HCS bus delays one month into school year

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 9:03 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - A host of recent issues are preventing Horry County students from getting to class on time leaving parents frustrated.

WMBF News checked in to see how the district is handling the bus route schedules and how parents are dealing with the delays.

While some are finding ways around it, others say the bus is the only option.

“So we definitely do parent drop off in the morning because the slight issue in the beginning of the school year, getting the kids to school on time,” said a Carolina Forest parent, Kevin Barry.

Barry decided to take the issue into his own hands as three of Barry’s sons attend Ocean Bay Elementary School.

With delays through the county to get kids to school on time, he said he’s managed to deal with the current setbacks.

“They take the bus home in the afternoon,” he said. “It’s always a little bit shaky in the beginning, they work it out after the first couple of weeks but for the most part in the afternoon they’re getting home on time.”

Other parents, like Brian Lipp, claimed to have seen first-hand delays to and from Carolina Forest High School.

It’s now affected his two kids every day.

“Our bus is supposed to be here at 7:45 in the morning so that our kids can arrive to school on time for 8:20,” said Lipp. “They have not been on time one time this year.”

“We do know that we have several buses that are near or at capacity for that, and when that happens, because of being down several bus drivers, they have to run multiple routes,” said spokesperson for Horry County Schools District, Lisa Bourcier. “So that means that they run a route, come back to the school, pick up additional kids, run a second route. If we still continue to have capacity issues, then we may have to run a third route.”

Bourcier said the administration is aware of the delays, and students will not face any repercussions if their bus is late.

She also said about 28,0000 students ride buses in the afternoons, meanwhile, the district currently has a little over 80 bus driver vacancies.

As the district continues to work to alleviate the strain for parents, Lipp said he’s still left with more questions.

“We don’t know when that’s going to be resolved, it’s going to be this way for the non-foreseeable future,” he said. “I guess the concerns I have, as we continue to develop as a community and an area here in Horry County, that we need more thought and consideration into infrastructure. What does that mean for the impact on school districts?”

When it comes to overcrowding, Bourcier said the district hasn’t received any reports of overcrowded buses but reminds parents to say something if they see something as they continue to work through the delays.