UPDATE FIRST POST..sorta..Is this unreasonable""

Teresa - posted on 08/16/2011 ( 19 moms have responded )

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UPDATE: Well at least the school called me back. They have agreed to meet with me, the principal and the priest. They said they need some time due to the "public nature of my disagreement" whatever that means. Are the watching my facebook page?



Back story:

Last year we made the decision to send our kids to private school because our public school has gone down hill to the point we were just not comfortable sending them there anymore. We have an 11 year old and a 4 year old.



So the school is great. It's Catholic. We are not but that doesn't matter as we are more concerned with the excellence in academics and we are glad to see the kids being taught more than just academics.



We pay $300 a month for the 2 kids. The oldest goes full time and the youngest we pay for 5-1/2 days of preschool. $625 of the annual fee is a bus fee to take them to school and bring them home. We have to pick up the preschooler because the bus does not run when preschool lets out. We drive 20 miles one way three times a week to pick up our preschooler. We pay for 5 days of preschool so he can go on the days that are convenient for us.



Last year there was a multitude of busing problems. The driver was a class A bitch for one. Secondly, the bus was either broke down or the driver flaked and there was no back up driver. I didn't count from the beginning of school but there were probably 10-15 times when the bus did not come to pick up the kids or could not bring them home due to break downs or no driver. Each time there was no bus available, I had to drive both kids to school and then retrieve them later in the day at a cost to me of about $20 each time. So at least $200 in extra fees for transportation on top of the $625 we already pay for the service we are not getting.



Today was suppose to be the first day of school for our kids. Guess what? Flat tire on the bus. No bus available to get the kids or bring them home. I did not take them this morning because it was a short day, less than 3 hours. I was pissed because #1 they were so disappointed #2 because the busing issues are starting again so soon.



While I realize that $625 a year is not an unreasonable amount to pay for busing and is probably a bargain. I am not disputing that at all. What I do have a problem with is paying a fee for a service I am not getting.



I want to tell the school that I expect to be credited for each time this happens. They are taking my money and not providing the service. Is this reasonable?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

[deleted account]

COM ate half my post! (That's why there's an incomplete sentence at the end :P)

Anyway, as I was saying, I would suggest drawing up a new budget that would cover keeping the system up and running and providing a back up bus and driver in case of failure, present it to the parental board, then implement fees that would cover that cost during the next school year or conduct a fundraiser to bridge the gap.

A bus that goes 20 miles to pick up kids is going to be expensive. The price you are paying is not even enough to cover gas, especially if they are going 20 miles out in several directions, much less equipment and driver salaries.

It is a Catholic school, right? They are not "for profit" schools, so the money is not likely going to some place it shouldn't, but they are notoriously under funded.

19 Comments

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Jodi - posted on 08/20/2011

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Teresa, does your school have some sort of Community Councill/Parent's Committee? I just ask because our school does (my kids are in Catholic School, but in Australia) and that is where parent issues are often raised. It is also where we discuss and decide if maybe some fundraising may be required for a particular project, and maybe this is one of those things? Anyway, just thought I'd throw that in. If it were an issue at my school, that's where I would raise it for discussion, because it is obviously something that affects the school community.

Teresa - posted on 08/20/2011

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I am not "friends" with the school, principal or priest on facebook. I am friends with a couple of the parents who send their kids there. But yes, they are in the wrong to think we should pay and not receive the service.

Katherine - posted on 08/19/2011

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Uh oh, are you friends with them? It really shouldn't matter! It's something THEY are doing wrong and it should have no bearing on what you post.

[deleted account]

I don't think that's unreasonable at all. They need to provide the service you are paying for or make other reasonable arrangements. If it were a once in a rare while occurance I would be more understanding, but not for a regular thing.



The bus fee at my son's school (he doesn't ride) is $1000/year. My dad is one of the bus drivers and his van is having LOTS of trouble these days, but he still always gets the kids and gets them home.

Katherine - posted on 08/17/2011

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Then I would definitely file a formal complaint. If there is nothing that says they are not responsible for those things, go to the board.

Teresa - posted on 08/17/2011

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It;s not as if we have the only kids riding the bus for that 625 a year. There are 3 other kids picked up in our town so thats another 1250 per year for them and there are tons of other kids along the way in other towns. I am sure they are covering their expenses for the bus, and if they aren't they need to reexamine their budget.



Katherine - there is nothing in the contract about bus breakdowns etc. Just a place where we sign and agree to pay for the service.

Katherine - posted on 08/16/2011

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Yeah, I don't ever remember my parents having to pay for a bus.....

Jodi - posted on 08/16/2011

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I put about $60 credit on my son's card per term, so that's only about $6 a week for about a 30km round trip each day :P



I used to get a free bus when I was a kid too because we lived about 15k out of town.

Katherine - posted on 08/16/2011

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Absolutely. They are not providing the service that was promised. Is there anything in the contract that states anything about the buses having problems?

I would definitely file a complaint. $625 isn't a ton, but it's something and I would expect to get my monies worth.

Stifler's - posted on 08/16/2011

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Oh yeah the bus was free because I lived 20km out of town. But seriously for students on the public bus here, not even attached to the school it's like $2 per ride.

Jodi - posted on 08/16/2011

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My son pays for his bus. I think it costs about $200-$250 a year. It is the public transport bus system, but they are specialised school buses. We just have a card, and refill credit on it each time it gets down. Buses are only free for students these days if they live more than a certain distance from their closest school, so even though my son's schools is 20 minutes away, there is a closer school, I just chose to send him to a Catholic College. BUT if the bus breaks down, they send another one (and my son texts me to tell me he will be late, because other wise I start to worry, LOL).



What you are paying seems to be an exhorbitant amount for an abysmal service. I would expect some level of credit too, BUT I think perhaps, before you start demanding credits, you should request a meeting at the school to ask what they intend on doing to fix the problem. So as well as expecting a refund/credit, you should also nail them on their plans to fix it.

Stifler's - posted on 08/16/2011

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And even then we had a backup bus to come and get us all to school if our bus broke down.

Stifler's - posted on 08/16/2011

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I think $625 a year is an outrageously unreasonable price considering when I went to school the bus was free.

Tah - posted on 08/16/2011

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I think you have done well not to go down there with all the parents at your back already. That is unacceptable and unprofessional. You are not being unreasonable and they shouldn't be marked late or absent for any day transportation isn't avaialable or is late...they should most certainly credit you. If they were losing money for it, I bet it would get better...

Teresa - posted on 08/16/2011

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We are saving a lot by riding the bus, no doubt but see we would never have committed to the school at all if there wasn't reliable bus service so they owe us to provide the promised service or reimburse us.

[deleted account]

It is reasonable, they should ALWAYS have a back up bus and driver. Once or twice a year is one thing, but when you consider that the school year is only 9 months and you said they fell through 10-15 times--that is almost twice a month!

You are saving A LOT by riding the bus--given your cost of $20/day that would be almost $500 for a single month. The low cost is probably the reason for the poor performance, so I don't know that asking for a credit would be the best solution, but it might get their attention. Maybe suggest raising the bus fees so that they can afford to maintain a back up?
If they are

Sam - posted on 08/16/2011

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I think it is reasonable, unless the bus is cancelled due to weather then they need to either find a back up driver and a back up bus or credit you for the days you drive.

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