ATLANTA -- Classes haven't even been back in session for a whole week, but some Atlanta Public School parents said Thursday they've already had enough.

They say they're tired of confusion over the bus routes and changes taking place this year, and are starting to organize at community meetings.

"It's never too early," Nathaniel Dyer said. "You start immediately and make an impact so that they know the message is clear."
The graphic designer and community activist doesn't have children in the school system, but drew attention earlier this year for a flyer depicting Superintendent Errol Davis as a Ku Klux Klansman. This time, he drew up a flyer of Davis as each of the Three Stooges. He's also planning a rally at the school board meeting Monday.

APS officials say they've gotten used to feedback like Dyer's, but they're working as hard as they can. They say problems like late buses are being addressed as quickly as possible, as they are every year.

"This is the typical time of year when it's all hands on deck so to speak, we want to be as responsive as possible to parents," said APS Transportation Director John Lyles. "We're spending twelve hours to fourteen hours a day calling each and every parent back to make sure we have the information available for them."

Lyles said each new school year starts off with bus route complaints from parents, but this year's have been increased because of changes from the redistricting process. Some routes that had been in place for years were changed because schools were closed.

Also new this year, a rule that has been on the books for years is now being enforced. Students who live within a mile of their school will no longer get a courtesy bus ride if they want it. Parents say that is a problem in some rougher neighborhoods.

"It's been running for many years and I don't understand why it's stopping now," said APS parent Nicole Mitchell. "I just want my kids safe at the end of the day."

APS spokesman Keith Bromery said safety is the first priority for the school system. But he said many neighborhoods can be described as scary in a metropolitan area like Atlanta. He said there is room for a change if parents can demonstrate a danger to the children in their neighborhood.

"On a case by case basis, if the parents think they have a case for their students to get bused, even if they're in the one mile limit, we will look at that and then make adjustments accordingly," Bromery said.

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