Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014
News

Parents complain of not receiving back-to-school information

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BROOKSVILLE - More than 100 students at Brooksville Elementary School did not receive their welcome back letters or bus stop information, and some administrators expressed concerns about what that would mean the night of open house.

Just as School Board Member Cynthia Moore suspected at Tuesday's school board meeting, much of open house Thursday was spent trying to locate student bus stops for parents.

"It was a madhouse," Moore said. "We had a computer lab open, and several of the addresses wouldn't come up on the bus locator data, and we were trying to reach (transportation) for an hour, but couldn't get through." The phone calls only came back with a busy signal, she said.

Parents and teachers can determine a student's bus stop information the same way the transportation department did for the more than 10,000 postcards they mailed last week, several of which never made it to the right address for various reasons. A web-based application by Transfinder, called "Infofinder I," available at www.info finderi.com, will locate bus stops for addresses entered into its system.

Doug Compton, director of transportation, said the new software gives the department more accurate reads on student bus stop locations. But due to students either moving over the summer or not providing an updated address, the department decided it would be better to send no bus information, rather than send the wrong information.

"They had an extreme amount of return addresses," Compton said about Brooksville Elementary. "In Transfinder, we only had about 100."

Barbara Pilliod, vice president of marketing at Transfinder, said the bus routing software they provide to the district is based on data the district provides them.

"The data comes from the school district, so it's a data issue," she said, adding that students moving or not updating their address could be a part of that hiccup. "But it's all related to the information in the school district's student information system."

There is any number of reasons why parents didn't receive the bus information postcards, she said, such as printing issues or postcards being mailed to the wrong address.

"It's dependent upon the data the school district put in the system, so it's possible the data wasn't updated by parents, or wasn't submitted," Pilliod said. "But we cannot answer for why that occurred."

"These things usually get ironed out over the first one or two weeks," she added.

According to media relations coordinator Roy Gordon, when a student is registered to attend a particular school, their address is included as part of their enrollment and should be added into the system.

But being able to access that system online won't be of much use for the student who has no computer, he said.

According to the principal's office at Spring Hill Elementary, they hadn't received any complaints from parents not receiving their child's information in the mail prior to open house, as Brooksville Elementary did.

Schools request when a change is made in a student's transportation home, a parent must either have their child send a note to a teacher, or call the front office informing the school of the change.

mreinig@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5271

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