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Springfield Public Schools announces options for parents regarding bus changes

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 7:03 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A change coming to the Springfield Public Schools busing system leaves some parents again figuring out what to do with their child before and after school.

“It’s really unprecedented in the way that we are struggling to recruit and retain drivers. It’s an incredibly competitive job market right now, but this is not something unique to SPS, this is occurring at school districts across our state and country,” said Stephen Hall, Chief Communications Officer for Springfield Public Schools.

The district says this was the last resort option and something it did not want to do, but it was already short-staffed at the beginning of the year and is in a worse situation.

”We started the year with 96 bus drivers, and we have 92 right now, so and really, we need 10 full-time sub drivers as well. So that takes us up to really 117 drivers where we really need to be in order to have very healthy recruitment for us right now, and so we do have a deficit, unfortunately,” said Hall.

The district came up with some ways to help alleviate the stress for parents.

”There are a number of things that we’re doing, including providing free city bus passes to students for whom that might be a possibility. And those can be obtained at the school setting from the school principal,” said Hall.

City Utilities doesn’t know if kindergarteners can ride the bus alone or not. Meantime, parents might have to team up to create a solution.

”We are also connecting families to others who may be interested in carpooling, and that may be something that neighbors may be willing to do, and so we’re also facilitating that conversation for families as well,” said Hall.

The Boys & Girls Club Of Springfield, which found out about the changes at the same time as parents, says it wants to help where it can, but it too is short-staffed and at capacity. In fact, there are parents waiting to get kids in the program.

”We’re at that limit that we can’t like I said, we have over 100 on our waiting list, and most of our sites are one to 25, and so if we accept more kids, that means we have to have more staff and we don’t have more staff and everything,” said Director of Operations Jeff Long.

For a link to find out who is accepting new students click here.

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