Utica Academy of Science and Durham School Services face ongoing transportation crisis

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UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – As the first month of school is coming to an end, Utica Academy of Science Charter School is still experiencing ongoing transportation issues with Durham School Services.

“Our children are dropped off not dropped off, on the wrong spots and then the times are delayed,” said Dr. Tolga Hayali, Superintendent of Utica Academy of Science Charter school.

Superintendent of the charter school explains that there has been little to no communication from Durham, telling us that the company does not return calls to parents or administration in a timely manner, and their meeting with the company has been cancelled twice. Parents like Nakia Williams say that their students have been dropped off in the wrong places, and they could not reach anybody to discuss the issue.

“In two months the one call after 45 minutes of me calling wondering where my kid is I got one call back to say I have the bus driver and the bus monitor who did not know where they took my kids and my kid off anyway so what help did you do. I did not get a call to say did you find your kid at all our hey we’re sorry this happened this is what we’re going to do so it doesn’t happen again,” said Nakia Williams, parent of a 7-year-old student at the charter school.

Hayali tells us that when trying to communicate with the Utica City School District to work together to solve the issue, no one has responded back to him.

“We are hoping that someone in the district office, I hope as a courtesy our superintendent will at least pick up the phone, I send him emails, I call him…” said Hayali.

The main impact of the transportation problems has been on the children’s education. And now, parents are concerned that their children are missing parts of the lesson due to their bus dropping them off late.

“There are two and a half hours of missed education that they’re not getting. So, when the state testing comes and all of that comes my kids are suffering because you cant do a test if you have not been taught the curriculum,” said Williams.

Hayali says that his students are not being treated equally, and he hopes to see that change moving forward.

“When a high school student in the Utica area can attend school at 7:30 with their friends how come we cannot come at 7:30. We understand the shortage and we can take the burden all together fairly equally across the board,” said Hayali.

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