IPS promises changes after bus report
Rich Van Wyk/Eyewitness News
Indianapolis - An alarming report full of failing grades has Indianapolis Public School administrators vowing to fix its transportation system. The report obtained by Eyewitness News criticizes the department on all levels.
The report is a scathing top-to-bottom review of the IPS transportation system.
"Our ten culture imperatives start off with, number one, children come first. We haven't been operating a transportation system like children come first," said Dr. Eugene White, IPS superintendent.
The study conducted by the Council of Great City Schools cites a lack of leadership, planning, and urgency for buses that consistently arrive late and sometimes not at all.
"Probably the group that was most critical was our school principals," said Dr. White.
A bus routing and complaint center was found to be unresponsive to parents and principals, and the report also found management not pursuing opportunities to save money.
The report found it costs twice as much to transport children on an IPS bus than it does using buses of a private contractor.
Yet at First Student, where 13 investigates documented alarming bus maintenance and safety problems, drivers earn less money and the company suffers from a high turnover rate. Moreover, it did not have enough drivers to run all their assigned routes.
An overhaul of the entire transportation system has begun.
"We are going to make sure we are going to make drivers and other people more accountable for what they do," said Dr. White.
Everyone in the department is getting their own copy of the report and management changes are underway. IPS is considering using city buses to transport older students, and the superintendent is meeting with employees.
"They need to know where we are coming from," said White.
The IPS superintendent plans to have an overhauled transportation department in place before the start of the next school year.