Northern California: Special Education Parents Speak Out About Busing Problems in Mt. Diablo District

Monday, September 19, 2011

Since school started Aug. 30 in the Mt. Diablo district, hundreds of parents of special-education students have complained that their children have been stranded with no bus, dropped off at the wrong address, or have missed class time because buses were late.

The school board voted last year to begin transporting all special-education students on district buses this year to save money, by discontinuing a contract with Durham Transportation through the Contra Costa County Office of Education. But the plan has not been well-executed, district officials and parents say.

Several parents and special-education assistants discussed the problems during a Community Advisory Committee meeting Monday, where they expected to receive an update on the district's transportation system.

But Mildred Browne, superintendent of special education, told the group that the administrator in charge of busing had taken an abrupt 30-day medical leave of absence, which she found out about just two hours before the meeting. She said she had received more than 100 phone calls a day complaining about busing problems.

Parents expressed frustration at the lack of information they received.

"The situation is pretty dire," said parent Wendy Citron. "Parents don't know who's picking up their kids."

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