Some APS students are still without bus service
August 20, 2019 10:15 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— Ethan Ratledge and Vincent Vonderhaar, two APS middle schoolers with special needs, waited for a school bus that never arrived on their first day of school.
Parents with special education students said their children require a specialized transportation plan. Some of those plans are still being figured out by APS, leaving parents scrambling to get their kids to school.
Leah Ratledge, mother of Ethan Ratledge, said that this is a battle parents of special needs kids have to face every year.
“To me it’s unacceptable,” Ratledge said. “These kids are high risk kids who have special needs. It’s part of their legal requirement to have this transportation but it’s not like they haven’t been doing this year after year after year.”
APS officials admit there is a problem this year. A district spokesperson said the special education population in APS is growing. It now accounts for 18 percent of the population. APS has 2,000 students relying on specialized transportation plans. Around 600 student plans are still processing, according to APS officials.
Officials said it’s not as simple as just sending a bus; they have to consider the needs and locations of every special needs student. District officials said only about a third of the parents reported turned in the required paperwork before school started, so it pushed everything back.
“It’s not fair to them,” said Stephanie Vonderhaar, mother of Vincent Vonderhaar. “They should get treated just as regular kids. That's all they are, regular kids. They are our children and we love them.”
An APS spokesperson is apologizing for the delays. They are working as quickly as they can to get everyone situated.
Updated: August 20, 2019 10:15 PM
Created: August 20, 2019 10:13 PM
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