Shelton school, bus company officials meet over parent concerns

A City of Shelton school bus at Sunnyside Elementary School, in Shelton, Conn. Oct. 13, 2020.

A City of Shelton school bus at Sunnyside Elementary School, in Shelton, Conn. Oct. 13, 2020.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON — Parents’ anger over overcrowded buses, missed stops and late runs, along with allegations a 5-year-old dropped off alone in downtown, spurred school and bus company officials to meet Friday.

Board of Education Chair Kathy Yolish said she and fellow school representatives, Superintendent Ken Saranich, school Chief of Operations Carole Pannozzo and the board’s Building, Grounds and Transportation Chair John Fitzgerald met for two hours with Shelton Student Transportation Services Director Ken Nappi.

The meeting, she said, was “to address concerns and work on strategies” to improve bus service.

“The board has paid for a routing program, as well as employed a bus liaison to offer support, thus complying with the city’s expectations,” Yolish said. “We will continue to monitor the transportation situation each day and assist in remedying in whatever way possible.”

The meeting was held less than a day after parent Lizzy Cameron filed a police report after her 5-year-old son was allegedly dropped off after school Thursday alone on Howe Avenue. The incident is also being investigated by the state Department of Children and Families, Cameron said Monday.

“My 5-year-old kindergartner was supposed to take the bus and go to the Boys and Girls Club after school,” wrote Cameron on social media, adding that the drop-off had gone fine on Wednesday, the first day of school. “But today when I got to the Boys and Girls Club, they didn’t have him and they called the school and he wasn’t there.”

Cameron’s son attends Elizabeth Shelton School and rides on Bus 5.

“Just by a struck [sic] of luck … my mother-in-law calls me because she got a call from our neighbors,” Cameron wrote. “(My son) was left on the corner by himself, and my neighbor who just happened to recognize him, saw him and brought him to my apartment and got ahold of my mother-in-law.”

Nappi said he was unable to comment as the matter remains under investigation. Saranich said the incident is now a personnel matter and he also was unable to comment.

Yolish said the schools have received bus complaints from delays in pickups to late drop offs.

“A few (of the) more serious concerns are being investigated and because of that no comment can be made except that we take each concern very seriously and we’ll do everything in our power to rectify it,” she said. “Our kids’ health and safety are one of the most important responsibilities, as well as the education component.”