BALTIMORE — The first day of school is in the books and it was a bumpy ride for a lot of children in Baltimore City.
The bus driver shortage left a lot of kids with no ride and a lack of AC sent some home when they did get there.
Ebony Scharlach’s kids waited and waited until there was ten minutes before opening bell— the bus never came.
“It’s heartbreaking as a mom,” Scharlach said. “I cried this morning, it was heartbreaking to them. I was this close to telling them they aren’t going today. It’s like why and what do I say, we’re not going because the school bus is not coming.”
Around 30 drivers called out on the first day— impacting around 300 students.
Scharlach doesn’t drive because of a medical condition-her kids finally made it because a family member helped out.
She was told at the end of the day she may be eligible for a stipend because transportation likely won’t be available for a month.
“I don’t know how much the stipend is for. I’m not sure if we qualify for a cab service, or if my kids are going to miss the entire month of September.”
Angie Smith Winder says she loves her daughters school.
Still she was told they would have air conditioning this year and is disappointed in the communication on the first day.
She noticed the AC wasn’t on last week at a back to school night.
“Actually got a sneak at the heat,” Winder said. “That right there was very disheartening. Where was the communication to say it didn’t happen, or that it needed to pushed back? A lack of communication is a big deal.”
Baltimore City Public Schools released a list of over 20 schools that either didn’t have air conditioning or had AC that was being repaired.
Those schools released early at noon today because of the heat— leaving parents scrambling.
“There are a lot of jobs that are not flexible. Parents are really losing out on either their pay or just maybe they have to transfer because their job is not going to help them in that area,” Winder said. “But also our students are losing learning hours behind this.”
One of Tyries Brown-Bond’s children has an IEP that requires transportation.
She said she got an email last night at 5pm telling her her child didn’t have transportation— for the entire month of September.
“This violates his IEP which is a direct violation of the American disabilities Act under the ADA,” Brown Bond said. “It’s a federal mandate. It is not optional for my child to get transportation to school, he has to get transportation to school.”
The district said they apologize for the challenges from the unexpected fallout's and are working to be fully staffed Tuesday.
On their website, City Schools also mentioned that schools without air conditioning will be dismissed at noon on Tuesday as well. A complete list of those schools affected can be found here.