No-show and tardy HISD school buses leave students behind, putting working families in bind

Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Late school buses in HISD put working families in bind
One mom says the bus never showed up to take her kids to school, while another says drivers are arriving late, but can it all be fixed?

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- On the second day of school in the state's largest school district, parents are angry and frustrated over no-show and tardy school buses.

"It's already been a mess and school just started," said Cecilia Alvarado.

Alvarado lives on the southwest side of Houston, where she claims the school bus never showed up to take her kids to Braeburn Elementary School.

Now, she says there appears to be a patch-work plan to get them back home.

"The latest that we heard was a driver will complete his route then circle back to the school, pick up my kindergartner and 3rd grader at 6:30 p.m. and they won't be getting home until 7 p.m., maybe 8 p.m. We don't know yet," explained Alvarado.

Meanwhile, miles away, the Chavarria family was waiting at a designated drop-off location for their 9th grader.

"My sister's bus never arrived to her school, so she had to take a substitute bus. We're just waiting until she arrives," said Stephanie Chavarria.

Her sister's bus which was coming from Challenge Early College High School arrived at 6 p.m., more than 90 minutes after the scheduled drop-off time. The Chavarria family says at least she had a bus to get home. For the past two mornings, that hasn't been the case.

"There's a school bus that's supposed to take my sister, but it hasn't shown up at all," said Chavarria.

Their mother tells ABC13 she's been missing work in order to take her sister to high school.

This domino effect of no-show and tardy school buses is hitting parents hard.

Alvarado says her paycheck will be less because of the time she's taken off work in order to pick her children from school.

"I'm an hourly employee, and I have to be at work if I'm going to support my family. I cannot keep doing this," she said.

Houston ISD told ABC13 it's experiencing an on-going bus driver shortage.

The problem isn't new.

In fact, school districts, both large and small, all across the country, are short on drivers.

ABC13 asked how many driver vacancies HISD needs to fill, but the district was not able to share that information or address parent frustration before Tuesday night's newscast.

"It needs to be better," said Alvarado. "It needs to be better, because telling me that picking my child up at 6:30 p.m. when they have lunch at like 10 o'clock in the morning, and that's the last meal he is supposed to have until he comes home at dinner time. A five-year-old? That's unacceptable," said Alvarado.

This is a developing story. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

For updates on this report, follow ABC13 reporter Shelley Childers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.