As school gets closer to starting, parents begin thinking about how they will get their children to school. Prairie Five Community Action Council does its best to help out.
In Montevideo, the largest city in the agency's service area, children within a mile of their school must find their own way there. Prairie Five has two designated buses for door-to-door pick-up and drop-off for pre-kindergarten through high school students.
The agency's 40 fee-based bus slots are a hot commodity in an area with limited public transportation. The buses hold 20 children each.
For its annual bus sign-up at 8 a.m. on July 14, people were sitting in lawn chairs by 6 a.m. outside its facility to ensure they could reserve a bus seat for their children.
Gart Brunz arrived at 6:30 a.m. and was able to reserve a seat for his 4-year-old granddaughter.
"This is very important with both parents working," Brunz said of Prairie Five's door-to-door school bus service.
The agency was able to help out about 30 families this year. There is a lengthy waitlist for those who couldn't secure one of the 40 available bus seats.
"I was really hoping there would not be this many people," said Hilary Clemenson, whose two children are on the waitlist. "I saw all the cars in the back of the building and thought, 'Oh, my goodness.'"
McKenzie Finke arrived at 7:10 a.m., but even that was too late to snag a bus slot for her pre-schooler, and she was No. 59 in line.
Despite dozens of families children being put on a waitlist, the sign-up event was efficient and completed within two hours.
"This really went smooth," Program Director Paul Coyour said as he watched the line dwindle. "This really worked good."
For more information about Prairie Five's transportation services and other programs, visit prairiefive.org.