New changes cause some confusion on first day of school in Columbia

School year begins with new start times, new bus routes and new buildings

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The 2013-2014 school year started out with a lot of changes for Columbia Public Schools.

"Just about everything is new this year," said Michelle Baumstark with Columbia Public Schools. "We have new bus routes, we have new start times, we have new schools, we have new grade configuration."

The most problematic part of the day involved buses.

Some elementary school students were confused and got on the wrong buses, which put them home late.

"We fully anticipated that it wasn't going to be 100 percent perfect," Baumstark said. "We're not perfect, but the first day always brings good, positive things that happen and some glitches too, so we'll work through those this week and try to make everything perfect."

Location Manager Craig Caldwell with First Student Inc. said roughly 190 buses were on the roads Tuesday.

Caldwell said the drivers practiced their routes two days before school started.

He said there could be some minor changes in the bus system over the next two or three weeks, depending on how the first week goes.

He expects few problems once drivers and students adjust to the new schedules.

CPS said they've been working very closely with First Student Inc. to make sure every parent and student's questions can be answered.

"We're fully staffed with First Student," Baumstark said. "We started a call center so that we would be able to address any issues just because of the sheer number of changes that were going to be happening this year."

Most parents said the student drop-off and pickup process was easy.

"[It went] totally smoothly," said one parent. "My kids have been going here for several years and it was kind of an old process for them."

Baumstark said they will work to fix the issues experienced Tuesday.

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