PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Finding a top-notch school for your child can be a challenge. So imagine the frustration when you find a school your child loves only to discover there's no reliable way to get her there?
Brianna Smith is a straight-A student in third grade at Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School on North Broad Street.
“She takes her education very serious,” her mom,Tajanae Glover, told FOX 29.
So why is Glover angry enough to begin the process of removing Brianna from the school?
“You don’t know what time your child is being dropped off. You don’t know what time your child is being picked up. We don’t know!”
Glover, a working, single mom without access to a car, says Durham School Services gets her daughter to and from school each day at least they’re supposed to work.
But starting in late February, Brianna‘s bus number 59 all-but disappeared. Tajanae gets a text blast from the charter school almost every morning.
She read a string of such messages out loud, for FOX 29's Bruce Gordon.
“‘Bus 59 has no driver,’” she read off her phone. “‘We advise you to get your child to school on your own...’”
Glover says transportation troubles have kept Brianna out of class on all but 3 of the last 10 school days.
“I’ve called the school, I’ve called Durham. I’ve made formal complaints. I reach them through the school. I’m getting no answers!”
Gordon went to the charter school on Tajanae’s behalf and asked founder and chief administrative officer Veronica Joyner how much control her school has over their bus service.
“We have zero,” said Joyner. “Zero. Because Durham is the bus company that the school district sent to us.”
Joyner showed off a stack of complaints filed by her school against Durham for late or no-show buses.
She says the district— headquartered right across Broad Street— has done little or nothing to address their concerns.
“We’ve given tokens, we’ve picked up children. We’re doing everything we can do to try and accommodate the parents,” said Joyner, “except I don’t own a bus company with 11 buses!”
Tajanae says it doesn’t matter if he’s daughter’s charter school is top-notch if the people tasked with getting her there can’t do their job.
How frustrating had the situation become?
“Very,” said Glover. “I’m getting ready to take her out of school.”
In a statement to FOX 29, Durham said it sincerely apologizes for the inconvenience to Brianna and her mother and chalks it up to a driver shortage they hope to have rectified by the end of this month.
As for the school district? A spokesman says performance issues caused them to reduce the number of routes given to Durham this year. They continue to monitor their performance.