In the first 90 days of the school year, the district said the transportation department received more than 50,000 calls from parents trying to get information.
GUILFORD COUNTY, NC – A major change is coming to the transportation department of schools in Guilford County. The district said it was inundated with appeals. A call center will help parents get answers faster.
“Everyone is small, I get it, but when it comes to my kid, I just want to know when their bus is coming,” GCS mom Monchell Baker said.
Baker said safety was his biggest concern. When she spoke to him on Tuesday, she was among 50,000 phone calls the transportation department received in the first three months of school this year.
“It was truly an eye opener that we weren’t able to receive these calls effectively and resolve a lot of the issues with parents and the community that we heard from,” said Michelle Reed.
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Michelle Reed is the District Director of Operations. She said the extremely high call volume is one of the reasons the district felt that a call center could be of benefit.
“The goal is not to leave the call without having an answer for the parent,” Reed said.
Reed said that in one week, the department received about 3,800 calls, mostly from parents with a series of questions.
The big question now that the board has approved the call center is how it will work. The contract is with a company called North End Teleservices.
“We have heard the frustrations of parents and families with getting transportation answers and as a parent myself I understand,” said Superintendent Sharon L. Contreras. “This call center will allow us to provide the timely and accurate information our families need and deserve, and we look forward to this partnership.”
This contract will provide 13 representatives from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. to answer calls. Representatives will be able to use district systems, including routing and GPS, to help resolve issues.
The contract will be financed by savings made in the transport budget according to the district. It will cost around $ 852,000.
“The company is based in Omaha, Nebraska, which is typical for many call centers across the country, so they’re not local,” Reed said.
The district hopes the call center will be operational in early December.