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updated: 2/24/2011 4:42 PM

Complaints down over Lake Villa Dist. 41 busing

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By C.L. Waller

Durham School Services officials say reinstating local customer service and dispatch for buses in Lake Villa Elementary District 41 is resulting in fewer complaints this year.

However, Durham officials also noted some problems this year with late buses have been due to issues, such as road construction, that they cannot control.

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In a report to the school board on Monday, Area Manager Ron Brandt said the company, headquartered in Warrenville, ended a test of a centralized dispatch office in January after hearing District 41 did not like having calls handled from a remote location.

Operations Supervisor Lora Jackson said of the change: "You know the local roads. You know the local people."

However, board member Joe Dunne questioned why buses at Olive C. Martin and William L. Thompson elementary schools were arriving later this year. Dunne said he is concerned about safety when students are released and some buses are still rolling up to the buildings.

Durham General Manager Liz Nicoli said construction on Route 83 is delaying buses leaving Peter J. Palombi Middle School for the elementary schools by 10 to 15 minutes each day. She said she cannot control the construction and she emphasized drivers are told not to rush to get to the elementary schools in order to be safe.

Brandt said he anticipates more information will be available to District 41 this year because software was received last month to help monitor the GPS (Global Positioning System) in each Durham bus. He said a variety of bus information, including speed, whether the motor is idling or whether a bus door is open, can be checked from a remote location while each bus is in operation.

This is the fifth year Durham has operated busing in District 41 and there are 24 routes this school year.

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