School was back in session on Monday, after Muncie Community Schools canceled the second and third day of school last week. The district, which was designated as a “fiscally impaired school corporation” and put under probationary state control, experienced widespread bus route problems with its new bus company.
As part of the school district’s cost-cutting measures, it chose Auxilio Services over long-time local bus service M&M Bus Company to save the district $1.2 million a year.
On Thursday, angry parents complained to the district and on social media Wednesday that buses were late, drove by their children at bus stops without stopping, or never appeared at all.
Muncie Community Schools promised an update to bus routes on Thursday afternoon.
But that update did not happen by Friday, and the district canceled its third day of school.
Steve Wittenauer owns Administrator Assistance, the emergency management company running MCS.
“I think there’s probably blame to go around without naming specific individuals or entities,” Wittenauer says.
Wittenauer says the problems were unacceptable and he thinks the district’s bus routes will be ready for Monday.
On Monday, state education officials monitored Muncie Community Schools to see how the district was responding to busing problems.
According to the school district’s emergency management team, Administrator Assistance, the state director of school transportation said the buses ran as a “normal start to a school year.”
Parents on social media said some buses were still late on Monday and others arrived 20 minutes or more early to designated bus stops, missing kids that weren’t there yet.
Auxilio hasn’t made any statements on record. The busing company’s president, Ed Dollin, was at a Thursday press conference, but did not speak to the media.