Transportation continues to be discussed for school district | News, Sports, Jobs

Gwyn Gittens

Transportation continues to be at the forefront as there still is a shortage of school bus drivers.

Superintendent Dr. Ken Savage said there are currently 729 bus operator positions budgeted for the 2021-2022 school year. There are 626 positions filled.

“The district has 32 fewer operators today than we had when we started the year in August,” he said.

The transportation department continues to work to recruit potential bus drivers. One of those ways is by offering CDL classes every two weeks to certify drivers.

A few board members shared their concern about the district not being proactive when it comes to busing.

Board member Gwyn Gittens said what keeps her up at night is what the busing is going to look like come fall.

“We continue to hear the shortage may get more. It’s like we are in crisis mode. What is our plan B, C and D if necessary,” she said. “When I got on the board in 2018 transportation was always our biggest issue. We have to get the kids there. We know that. In this economic environment, we are looking at options A, B and at least C to get it done.”

Board member Betsy Vaughn said the districts has to be reactive rather than proactive.

“I thought we were being very proactive a couple of years ago when we first engaged Davis Demographics on the proximity plan. I am very unhappy for two major reasons that we have not moved forward on proximity,” she said.

Savage said the transportation system is insufficient because of the choice system. He said conversations are being had regarding the major constraints, such as arterial routing and gated communities.

“It’s a lot less convenient for folks who are used to door-to-door service,” he said.

By pulling bus stops out onto major roadways there would be one stop, rather than many.

“There are a host of issues that are being discussed,” Savage said.

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