PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A dispute between a local school district and its bus company has left families to figure out how to get their kids to class.
Sun Coach Lines claims South Allegheny School District owes them tens of thousands of dollars. Just a few days ago the bus company decided to cut ties with the district.READ MORE: Carnegie Library's Downtown Branch Preparing To Reopen Next Week
Parents in the South Allegheny School District, like Rachael Grzes, were looking forward to Monday, Feb. 1.
“I just went, bought him and everyone’s school shoes and was like ‘oh, I guess we’re not going back to school,’” said Rachael Grzes, a parent.
It was supposed to be the first day of in-person instruction for students, but, because of a bus dispute with the district, all students were told their classes would be virtual. The news was sudden and disappointing.
“It was a complete shock actually,” said Grzes.READ MORE: West Virginia Governor Jim Justice Makes Plea For More COVID-19 Shots In Arms
The problem? Money. Sun Coach Lines says the district owes them more than $800,000. They say the school hasn’t made a payment since the beginning of the pandemic when the school switched to virtual learning.
We spoke to Ray Middleman just a few days ago. He’s the attorney representing the bus company.
“There has been CARES Act money and government money allocated to school districts for the payment of transportation services. So, it’s not really an issue of does the district have the money or not,” said Ray Middleman, attorney for Sun Coach Lines.
As for Grzes, she has four boys that attend South Allegheny. Her older kids plan on staying home and learning virtually, but it’s her youngest that thrives in the classroom and really needs to be in that structured environment.
She says she got an email saying students can start going to in-person instruction on Tuesday, but they would just need to find their own transportation. For working parents like Grzes herself, that’s not really an option.
“I don’t know how many families are able to stay home, during a pandemic and are able to get their kids back into or back and forth from school, unfortunately, I’m not one of them,” said Grzes.MORE NEWS: Murder, Arson Trial Opens In Strangulation Slaying, Fire
KDKA reached out to the district for comment on the dispute but did not hear back.