School board member weighs-in on what happens next after bus route fiasco

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By: Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News
August 14, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- For the first time since the chaos over school bus routes in Tallahassee erupted, a member of the Leon County School board is speaking about what will happen next.

Representative for District 1, Alva Striplin, said Wednesdays decisions are like "moving forward in a backwards direction." She weighed-in on what might happen to the suspended director of transportation and the existing contract with the software company that created what the superintendent deemed "a colossal failure."

"I don't understand why this wasn't implemented with our drivers at the very beginning of Summer," said Striplin during a school board meeting on Tuesday night, where she questioned the since-removed director of transportation, Manny Joanos, and a senior manager from Edulog, the software company behind the new routing system.

"Nothing added up," she told WCTV reporter Katie Kaplan by phone Wednesday evening. "There's still so many unanswered questions."

Many of those questions hang in the future, such as 'what will happen to Joanos?' who is now on administrative leave.

"All things transportation fall under his purview and they didn't go well, so we'll see what transpires," Striplin said.

Many are also wondering what will happen to the existing contract with Edulog.

"I have lost all faith and confidence in their ability to help get our routes in order in a timely manner," said Superintendent Rocky Hanna during a news conference Wednesday morning.

Hanna announced the routing system contract would be cancelled, but the district will continue with a previous contract that was established in 2008. Striplin said LCS will continue to utilize bus tracking GPS technology that Edulog has long been providing.

"I'm sure that will be another step in the process as we look forward," she said. "Do we maintain that relationship? Is there a reason to look into lawsuits? Are they to blame for the mess this week that created so many hardships in our community."

The hardship was put on to countless parents and guardians. People like Zina Wiggins, who enlisted a search party for her grandson when he was hours late returning from school on Monday.

"At first, I'm like, 'Okay, I am going to think positive, nothing has happened.' Then and hour and a half, two hours later and I'm upset," Wiggins said.

Wiggins says now, she'll drive her grand kids to school for the rest of the week.

"I'm just going to wait for Monday and, like I said, just hope and pray for the best," she asses.

WCTV attempted to speak with Joanos at Tuesday's school board meeting, but he referred us to the Leon County School's public information officer.

WCTV also reached out to the district for a copy of their contract with Edulog twice in the past two days, but has not yet received it.