SUMTER COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A Sumter family says the school bus has been late more than 20 times this year to pick up their children.
The Giampopos live in Wedgefield and say they wake up early to have their two children ready for the school bus. But each morning, they say the waiting game turns into the guessing game since they never know what time the bus will arrive.
Michelle Giampopo said the tardies keep adding up. Since August, she says her son and daughter have been late to school 26 times.
The children attend F.J. Delaine Elementary and Cherryvale Elementary. At both schools, classes begin at 7:30 a.m.
"We get up 6, 6:30, wait for the bus, wait for the bus. Sometimes we be waiting an hour, sometimes even more," Mario Giampopo said.
And the Gianpopos say they have proof. They recorded a video at 8:10 a.m. Monday that shows a school bus pulling in front of their house and the kids running to it.
Another video taken Tuesday shows the bus arriving at 7:54 a.m.
In a statement, a Sumter School District spokesperson said they "will check in with the bus office about the issue."
However, the spokesperson said, at last check, the transportation office said, "due to the length of the route the bus can't pick children up any earlier and the bus arrives at the home between 7:25 and 7:35."
"7:25? That's a joke. That's a joke," Mario said. "I'm fighting back laughter right now."
But what's not a joke is how much the family depends on the school's transportation. For them, it's essentially a ride to survival.
"My family is on a fixed income, so not having to take that extra money out for gas, it helps me to put more toward my bills, toward my children. For them people who don't have the money, yeah, that bus transportation is big for us," Mario said.
The Giampopos said they've seen a drop in their children's' grades, possibly because of the late bus.
Meanwhile, the district said the students are not penalized when late to school because of the bus and the students are given breakfast before heading to class.