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Oceanway Elementary school bus mix-up leaves parents scrambling for transportation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An apparent bus mix-up had some Oceanway parents scrambling to get their elementary kids home from school.

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Nekeisha Boone is one of those parents. She sends her grandson to Oceanway Elementary with a set of expectations.

“My expectation is that they’re going to get there safely. That he’s going learn. And that you’re going to return him the same way that I dropped him off,” she said.

However, a notification she received from Duval County Public Schools did not meet those standards. After Boone said there had been weeks of bus delays, she got a message from the school’s principal Tuesday that said, “Your child’s bus route will NOT run again this afternoon. There is no plan to reassign this route moving forward. It will remain unfilled”.

Boone is a full-time nurse and student after work. Her husband is a disabled veteran. Action News Jax asked her what options she currently has for transportation after school. “We don’t,” she said.

Under state law, transportation is required to and from school for students outside a two-mile radius. Boone and her grandson live at Yellow Bluff Landing, which is about a 13-minute drive and nearly seven miles to Oceanway Elementary.

“What they told us was you can put them in after-school care — which costs money,” she said. She said, school officials also suggested “tutoring, which costs money. Or some type of karate or something that costs money. Even with that, someone has to pick them up after those programs.”

Student Transportation of America told Action News Jax the route is actively running. “We do not have any known transportation gaps on this route at this time and have not issued any notifications of such.”

We sent STA the message Boone received, and a representative followed up and said they were reaching out to the district. A DCPS representative also said they are working to learn more. Meanwhile, Boone is looking for a solution.

“We are kind of stuck right now. So right now it’s going to be a day-to-day thing.”

Action News Jax reported on bus driver shortages districtwide and nationwide last year.

READ: Bus driver shortage anticipated to cause delays for Duval County students on first day of school

STA said, “We are keenly aware of the impact a smaller workforce may have on services, including some expected delays on routes. We are continuing to optimize our services with the District and have prioritized recruitment and retention efforts for local bus drivers.”

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