Unit 5 Board Gets Bus Update, OKs Normal Joint Committee | WGLT

Unit 5 Board Gets Bus Update, OKs Normal Joint Committee

Aug 10, 2017

Unit 5 Superintendent Mark Daniel said Wednesday he is cautiously optimistic the school's bus contractor will do better than the start of school last year.

There were chronic delays, students sitting three to a seat, and dropoffs at the wrong stops. As Unit 5's school board heard an update from transportation vendor First Student on Wednesday night, Daniel said adults cannot place students in unsafe scenarios.

"That would be overcrowded buses or to the point where they're 45 minutes late to pick up students, that's just not acceptable," said Daniel. "That was a very tough lesson last year, but I think that was heeded by upper management by First Student, going all the way to their international headquarters in Cincinnati." 

First Student Location Manager Mark Bohl, who took over local operations last fall after the problems flared up, outlined new organization and training methods during his presentation to the school board Wednesday. Drivers are currently training on their routes. 

Daniel said parents' trust must be earned back.

Working with Town of Normal

Meanwhile, the school board has formally approved creation of a joint liaison committee to improve communication and connections between the Town of Normal and school district.

Board members said the panel will promote a willingness to partner and move the community forward. Board members said seemingly simple to-do list items like road use, tax increment financing (TIF) districts, and event planning will become more transparent.

Daniel said there's always been periodic connections between the town the school district. This just formalizes the affiliation.

The first liaison committee meeting will take place Aug. 29.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.