The Leon County School District is no longer contracting with Edulog for its bus routing services. The company is behind a massive software failure last week that caused problems on the first day of school Monday. Students were left at bus stops in the morning, dropped off late, and left parents frantic over their children’s whereabouts.
The district plans to still use the company for tracking purposes. EDULOG's Pat Starken told the Leon County School Board last night that plans were on track as of July 29th -- then the data disappeared. It happened a week later during a software backup.
“Something didn’t go right in the download. We attempted to get our backup up and going, but that data was gone,” Starken said. “It was deleted by someone that was looking at a server and didn’t realize what would happen when they deleted it.”
That resulted in the planned bus routes being erased a week before the start of school.
Leon Superintendent Rocky Hanna says beginning Monday, the district is returning to the bus stops that were in effect last year. Bus drivers will be back on their old routes in the morning and afternoon.
In addition to the routing changes, the district removed Manny Joanas, from his position as head of its transportation department. James Cole will serve as interim director.
Joanas remains employed with the district. Hanna says he'll make a final decision on Joanas' employment "in the near future."
The moves come after frustrated parents voiced their worries to the Leon County School Board Tuesday night.
“I am not going to hide how livid I am. It appears the parents here tonight have done more research and begged and dug for information than apparently the school board has, and apparently gave some sort of blind trust to Edulog,” said parent Taska Gondzik. You guys are statutorily tasked with running a safe and efficient school system. And having all these school bus stops removed, having this information not available to parents until the very last minute, is beyond unacceptable.”
The problems appeared to impact students with disabilities the most. Casey Poliza noted it was her first time attending a school board meeting and was compelled to attend on behalf of her daughter, who is disabled.
“Was there a cost-savings for Leon County Schools to switch to this new system? If safety was a priority, why are these kids crossing four lane highways?" she asked the board. "You had a special needs kid leave school in a bus, and arrive home in a van, with no explanation of why.”
She says the bus she was told her child would be riding never showed up, and a different one arrived.
The district has now established a dedicated phone line for families of ESE students who use buses. The number is 850-487-7818 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Clarification: The district issued a note clarifying Joanas' employment status. He presently still employed, though no longer head of transportation. The district also clarified the status of EduLog to note the company is still doing business with the district but won't be responsible for bus routes.