Three-Hour Commute for ECISD Students 9/12/12
CBS 7 News
September 12, 2012
Ector County, TX - The growing student population and the dwindling number of bus drivers is taking an exhausting toll on a student's day starting with their commute.
Its 5:30 in the morning, 8-year-old Autumn Gain and her little sister Janice are ready to start their day, but first they must make it through the commute.
“We live in Pleasant Farms,” Autumn explained.
Their three-hour bus route is one of the longest routes in Ector county.
The girls’ neighborhood school is overcrowded and closed to any new enrollment.
So now they're bused across town.
Some students pass the time with schoolwork or listening to music.
The sisters sleep, or at least try to.
“Everybody is loud,” Janice explained.
“We keep getting more and more kids every year,” said the bus driver, Simone Eldorado. He says in his ten years of experience, he's never transported this many kids from the county.
Combine that with a lack of bus drivers and students like the Gain sisters have to endure a longer route.
“If we more people worked, it would make it easier for everybody,” he said, “There's about 18 to 19 bus drivers short, so it makes it hard.”
Seven of the buses come from the outskirts of Odessa to meet at Sherwood Park, much like a layover flight, the students change buses en route to their school.
Two and a half years later, the buses are jam-packed with students, Autumn's hope for sleep is a distant dream.
“Are you sleepy in class?”
“Yes...Because I'm tired.”
Thats only half of the story, those students have an additional three hours drive home.
Many parents say their kids have just enough time to do homework, eat dinner and go to bed. Then they do it all over again the next morning.