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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Brunswick County Schools spokeswoman says the district hopes for improvements today after some students at one elementary school did not get on their buses until after 5 p.m. yesterday.

District spokeswoman Jessica Swencki says a “perfect storm” of issues on the first day of school led to the long delay for students at Town Creek Elementary School. Some students reportedly did not get home until after 6 p.m.

Under the district’s staggered schedule, the buses for Town Creek first run a route taking home students from North Brunswick High School and Leland Middle School. An hour later, they should be at Town Creek for the school’s 3:45 p.m. release time, Swencki said. But she said yesterday heavy traffic on Old Fayetteville Road in Leland caused the buses to wait at least 20 minutes to get onto the road to start their routes.

Swencki said the school district had traffic control in place on Old Fayetteville Road Tuesday to relieve the problem.

Swencki also said there were issues at the schools with verifying students’ addresses and making sure they were on the right bus to get home. She said that’s a typical issue at the start of the school year, but combined with the traffic issues to make the delays worse. Further compounding the issue was a problem with the district’s automated phone system that was supposed to let parents know of the delay.

The students at Town Creek were supervised and safe while they waited for their buses, Swencki said. She said administrators were on the phone with parents upset about the delays as late as 7 p.m.


Comment on this Story

  • Really?

    Don’t assume that I assumed you don’t work. I never said that. I said the schedule was hard on working parents. It’s Great that you have an advantage of owning your own business, however, most don’t.

  • CoastalJade

    I work as well. I own my own business so I have hours from 9am to 3pm.
    So I do have an advantage. Don’t complain about your plight as a mother and provider…that comes with wanting to play house and have kids.
    Don’t you assume I don’t work because your schedule does not go hand in hand with mine.

  • Guest2020

    I have paid income taxes for 27 years now. I have paid sales tax on everything I have ever purchased in my lifetime. I have paid property taxes for twenty years. I have paid taxes on phone, cable, internet, trash, electric and other services I have utilized over the past twenty years. I pay taxes at the gas pump. I believe that I have paid enough into the system that you cannot call me a freeloader.

    As a citizen of this country and as a resident of Brunswick County, I have every right to complain about how the schools are doing things. As a parent of a child in the school system, I have a responsibility to do my part to ensure that the schools are doing what is in the best interest of not only my child, but the other children in the system.

  • Guest2020

    In addition to that, the parents that send their kids to private schools still pay the taxes that send the other kids to the government schools.

  • Guest2020

    I am sure you meant to type Thorsen. He is the best thing on the school board that the students have going for them. And he actually cares about what the parents have to say. He is the only who disputed Pruden’s claim that the parents of Brunswick County need to be reprogrammed.

  • TCES Parent

    Below is a link to the minutes from the staggered start/budget discussion. Mr. Thoraen voted against staggered start.

    Voice your concerns to the board.


  • Guest000000

    You have to worry about the dollars. How do you propose we pay to educate the kids when education budgets shrink every year. This was done to save teaching positions. If you can figure out a better way to trim $1 million from the Brunswick County School Budget, please run for School Board because we’d all love to hear it.

  • Reallly?

    I voted and although it did not go in my favor, parents had to vote on the lesser of the 2 evils dependent on thier lifestyle. I am glad you love the new schedule. For working parents who have to be at work before school hours, the cost for before/after school care by CIS for 2 children is $560. I am glad the schedule worked out to your benefit but it did not for everyone else. There are issues with the start and release times, the expenses and conflicts with work schedules, being pushed for time to get everything done (homework, baths, dinner, bedtime) especially for students in higher grades who have 2+hours of homework each time–and with students home over 2 hours late off the bus the first week, not only is it not easy, it is not dependable.

  • Really?

    You’re a tax payer. So what? So is everyone else! You once went to school as well and guess what? If it was public school, TAX payers paid for it! If you were fortunate enough to go to private school, that’s great but unfortunately, not everyone has that priviledge. Do you use the services of local law enforcement? Are they readily avaliable to you if you need the service? Sure are. What about the fire department? Guess what? THOSE TOO ARE TAX PAYER FUNDED! If you do not have children in the public school system, this forum does not apply to you. You have a right to comment but don’t waste your time. EVERYONE is going to pay taxes and the amount that is to be divided to NC Public Schools is going to be distributed that way regardless of what you say, do or think and REGARDLESS if you have children in the public school system. You’re still paying the same amount whether there is staggered start or not. Whether buses drop elementary children off within a reasonable time or 2 1/2 hours late. If it was as easy as putting children in private schools and transporting them to and from school or paying someone to do so or care for the children during the time difference between parent’s work schedules, I am sure that would happen but unfortunatley, many middle class families must work because they don’t live off the government, are not provided FREE before/after school care as lower class families are and are not fortunate enough to be able to afford it.

    Think before you speak. It’s a great virtue.

  • Concerned Parent

    Same thing happened to me. Romona–a new assistant at the superintendent’s office had the nerve to laugh on the phone when I called to express my concerns about TCES’s buses still being parked at the school at 5pm and just boarding all bus riders. Called again yesterday and was delighted to speak with Romona again to be told, yes, you were the one who called yesterday and thought I was laughing at you. Told me Monday she was not laughing at me/my complaints yet told me yesterday co-workers were in the office laughing. I informed her that regardless, if someone is calling the superintendent’s office, it is most likely not positive and it is most likely a parent. Her job is to be respectful and professional and if co-workers are in that close of proximity to her that the person on the other phone can hear them laughing, there is an issue. This issue has been esclated and will go up the chain if I have to attend the next board meeting and specifically ask for a few minutes with Dr. Pruden.

  • beach guy

    Hate to go all family guy on all of you whiners but here we go!

    It really grinds my gears that you “people” are complaining about a free service that we all pay for(even if we choose not to have kids) first you get free schools for your rug rats that I did not make or receive any tax benefit from. and then they get a free ride back and forth to the free school on a free bus and you have the unmitigated gall to complain. how about you say thank you kind sir for contributing to pay for little johnny’s financial burden of education. After all they are your offspring not mine. Maybe they could come by and wash my car or do a little lawn work that would be a nice change of pace.
    Or here’s a novel Idea
    How about you take own kids to school and pick them up, instead of freeloading off the system!

  • LelandGal

    We need to not complain about each others words not being spelled right. We need to worry about the children who attend the schools in Brunswick County, Our children are having to go with a new schedule which is not right. In a few weeks it will be getting dark early and our children will be getting home at dark. The Board of Education in Brunswick County doesn’t care about the kids. Just trying to save money for their paychecks, They added 5 more days to the school schedule. This will cost the schools more money for lunch and power for lights and fuel for buses. Bus drivers who do not work full time will get benefits from the schools. Our tax money should be used to educate our children not cost the schools and Brunswick County Board of Education more money.. There is nothing wrong with part time drivers. Parents who drive the buses had the same hours as their children and could save money on daycare… ELECTION SHOULD BE A FUN TIME.. Hope that someone will help us to remember all this then

  • CoastalJade

    I love this schedule.
    Instead of my kids catching the bus at 6:50 in the morning, they are getting on a little after 8am.
    And yes the first day they were later than I liked. But this always happens the first few weeks of school here. It will level out and go normal in the second week.
    Quit whining and vote next time.

  • LelandGal

    Beside getting a new Board of Education leaders we also need a new Super. It was his call for this new schedule.. If it’s not broken leave it alone….. We need to worry about have good Teachers and Assit.’s there to help these children learn. What happened to the Children being first not the Adults in Bolivia.

  • Guest2020

    They change the school schedule, but the schools won’t change their policy about the times the kids can be dropped off in the morning. So, if a school is starting at 9:00, the kids can be dropped off no earlier than 8:30. With most parents having to be at work no later than 8:30, what are they supposed to do? It puts an undue burden on the working family.

    My experience with picking up kids at Supply Elementary was that it went off without a hitch, with few exceptions. Yesterday was my first time picking up a child at Shallotte Middle in four years. It went off without a hitch yesterday and today. The schools who have a system in place make it so that the cars get out quickly. I don’t know how the other high schools are, but picking up my child at West was always a nightmare, unless I got there very early and waited forever.

    They say there was a problem with the phone system. They never have problems with it when they want to tell us about booster club, band club, football schedules, events at Odell and other non-urgent, unimportant stuff. You would think they could get it right when they actually need to communicate something properly.

  • Guest45

    that’s the problem with most government workers that are in a “management” postion, the old saying is, “when life deals you a lemon, you make lemonade”, these people know what is coming and what needs to be done to accomodate the changes, but they procrastinate and point the finger instead of preparing, there is no excuse for the bus route’s to getso disorganized.

  • Parent

    Ok, delayed buses to and from the schools is one thing. This genius that they have running the transportation department for Brunswick County schools decided to fix his incorrect planning after Monday’s fiasco. He decided to run the buses TO school earlier this morning. Not a few minutes early, but 20 minutes early. So, my kid who has to walk about a half mile to stand on the edge of a major road to wait for the bus left about 15 minutes early. He missed the bus anyway, as did most of the kids on the route. So, I called down to transportation and got this arrogant woman named Teresa on the phone. “We told you your kids are supposed to be at the stop early” Seems like that would be reasonable, but running the buses so early that there’s no kids to pick up to make up time isn’t the answer. Being snotty about the negative result of your error isn’t very nice either.

    I got to drop my kid off at school. There were so many other parents in the same boat that had to take their kids to school because they ran the buses too early that the traffic was backed up to the point that the buses couldn’t even get in the parking lot.

  • Former Parent/Employee

    The current school board is concerned with whatever agenda they are advancing, which is not the betterment of children in Brunswick County. Two years ago, when this staggered bell schedule mess began, it was a way of saving money (to the tune of $500k) in the midst of some very harsh budget cuts. One of the pieces of research that the school system put forth to support the staggered bell schedule was from the Mayo Clinic regarding sleep patterns in young children versus adolescents. That article can be found on an older version of the school’s district site here:


    While Ms. Babson and Mr. Thompson opposed the change of the bell schedules, the others were lost in the numbers game where out of the 7k plus surveys send to parents less than 3k were returned, out of that only 40% of parents of elementary school students responded. Yes a lot of this is on the parents of Brunswick County Schools students. I certainly hope that come this next election cycle, parents will be a bit more involved in both the voting and education of voters to prevent an all Republican school board. Perhaps this is the growing pain that most of this area needs for voters to finally learn to pay attention to “who” is running for office instead of their party affiliation.

  • Guest543210

    If the current School Board worried about the kids under their care instead of a dollar bill they would keep the schedules as traditional. Perhaps Brunswick County needs to clean house and get rid of these yahoos?

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