Please read the following letter from the EBR School System Superintendent:
August 19, 2023
Dear EBR Families,
As we continue to make adjustments to rectify issues in our transportation system, we want to update you on our progress and improvements.
Beginning this school week of Aug 21-25, all schools will open on time and classes will begin on the regular schedule. However, high schools and middle school classes will end at 1:25 pm and elementary schools (inclusive of Education Campuses serving students in grades PK-8) will dismiss at the regular 3:25 pm time. This staggered schedule will allow our limited bus operators to provide transportation to all students in several shifts as we work to augment our bus fleet and operator ranks.
Bus Operators and Routes:
Our transportation teams continue working daily on logistical shifts to our bus routing system, which is a crucial element in correcting and streamlining the system. We are consulting with outside logistical experts to aide in the facilitation of this process.
Related to the concerns of our bus operators, Dr. Narcisse has scheduled a meeting with all operators on Monday to share solutions to many of their challenges in the short and long terms. We have also taken a variety of approaches including the engagement of government and private business leaders to recruit additional bus mechanics to repair inoperable buses in our fleet.
The EBRPSS Board has approved funding for early care for all 43 elementary school campuses, and school leaders are working on implementation guidance for before and after-care programming that we anticipate beginning no earlier than Wednesday of this week for those who need to drop children off early at school. It is important to note that some schools already have before and after-care programs that are currently being facilitated. School leaders are currently crafting that guidance, and we will share those details with you early this school week.
We have also proposed a special board meeting for this Thursday to authorize a change in school start times. If approved, this meeting will serve two purposes:
To ensure that students' attendance records are not adversely impacted as a result of transportation issues, absences and late arrivals will be excused for all EBRPSS students during the time period of August 9th - September 1st.
To improve the efficiency of the district's transportation services the Department of Transportation is working on the creation of bus routes and bus assignments that are complementary to staggered school start times and that require less routes and a reduced number of bus operators.
The logistics for the district's revised transportation plan are expected to be complete by the mid-point of the upcoming week.
The Department of Transportation will also collaborate with the Division of School Leadership, and the Department of Communications to develop a communication roll-out plan that prepares students and their families for potential changes to their bus assignments, bus routes, and/or school start time.
It is anticipated that the launch date of the revised transportation routes and staggered school start times will be September 5th, after the Labor Day holiday.
We are aware that the coordination of logistics, workforce, scheduling and staffing efforts have caused major challenges to provide timely and informative family communications and intend to provide imperative information for our families to make appropriate plans.
The Department of Communications and the Division of School Leadership will continue to collaborate in real-time to ensure that appropriate communication and messaging regarding the early release schedule for students and attendance grace period are accessible to our students' families and the community. Additionally, we will communicate the details of our efforts and any anticipated disruptions to current and future operations that may impact families’ schedules and expectations.
Please know that we understand and apologize for the impact that these transportation challenges are having on your daily routines, and we are wholeheartedly committed to making significant improvements to provide the educational experiences you should expect from the doorstep to the classroom and a safe return home. Your feedback and patience have been invaluable to revising our approach for the safety, convenience and well-being of you and your children.
Thank you for your incredible understanding as we work diligently to navigate these complex challenges to provide the customer service you expect and deserve.
If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our transportation hotline at (225) 226-3784.
Sito Narcisse, Ed.D.
Superintendent, East Baton Rouge Parish School System
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