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updated: 8/29/2013 5:19 PM

District 45 struggles with tardy school buses

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Problems with school bus service have caused some students in Villa Park Elementary District 45 to arrive late for classes and to get home late as well, officials said Thursday.

Four days into the school year, some buses still were running 30 minutes late or more, officials said. The district has been using an automated phone system to send multiple messages to parents to update them on the status of bus schedules.

"We've had some difficulties with transportation at the beginning of the school year," Superintendent Anthony Palmisano said. "We are working closely with the school board and administration to resolve the issues."

The district is using a new bus service provider, Westway Coach, which may explain some of the delays, Palmisano said.

"I think the majority of it is this is a new bus company," he said.

An official from Westway Coach said the company is working to rectify the situation, but didn't provide further comment.

The company, which has a location in Villa Park, had served as the district's transportation provider for several years in the past, school board President Linda Nystrom said, and should be familiar with the district.

The school board selected the company as its transportation provider again in February following an open bidding process. The company signed a three-year, $1.6 million contract with the district after it was deemed to be the lowest responsible bidder.

"We had a relationship with Westway previously and there's nothing in our previous relationship that would have given us cause for concern," Nystrom said.

She said the superintendent and officials from Westway have been meeting face-to-face and have had multiple phone conversations over the past few days in an attempt to fix the problems.

District 45 has a total of eight schools, serving students in portions of Villa Park, Lombard and Oakbrook Terrace.

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