Board members, bus drivers discuss bus chaos
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Parents and school bus drivers are still upset about some botched bus routes, and now they may have seen the last of their transportation director, at least for a while.
Wednesday morning, the school board, along with Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie, met to discuss the ongoing school bus transportation mix up. All day angry parents and laid-off transportation workers let the board hear it. "With all due respect, apologies are not what the parents of Broward County need right now," said Nick Zadonsky. "They need results."
The school district is into its third week of a student transportation debacle. "And I would say this to you, Ann Murray," Kimberly Ward, said, directing her comments to one of the school board members. "I looked up at you. I respected you quite a bit. I've lost a lot of respect for you."
"I think you think that we're stupid," said another woman, "uneducated, and I'm telling you now, you need to get it together. Board members, we will be voting you out."
The blame seems to be aimed at the director of transportation for the school district, Chester Tindall. He limped in suffering from a knee problem. "I want to start off by making a profound and very sincere apology to the students and the parents of the families because our poor start at our transportation department," he said. "They didn't deserve it, and it clearly was not out intent."
Tindall said he saved the department millions by firing greedy vendors, cutting down on excessive absenteeism and the list, according to him, of changes goes on and on. He vowed to do better but then dropped a bombshell. "Given all these things that I've done, I've neglected a lot of things, family and mainly my health, so I asked superintendent Runcie to go on medical leave starting sometime next week, and I would definitely be out six to eight weeks."
"Now we hear that there's a medical leave coming?" said a parent who had a chance to address board members. "So what does that do?"
But not all parents came to protest. "As of today," said a man, "I'm going to say something very nice. My son got to school yesterday on time. He got to school today on time, and he got home yesterday on time."
Zadonsky, however, feels there are fundamental deficiencies to deal with, beyond Tindall. "Fifty positions were requested in the spring, April and May. The man was trying to do his job."
Runcie had to go on the defense. "I can assure everyone here, and in the entire community, that we have a solid plan to address the immediate issue: making sure that we can get our kids to school."
At the very minimum Tindall will be gone six weeks for knee replacement surgery. Who will replace him remains unknown as this school bus saga continues.
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