republican debate

School bus driver shortages force some districts to delay openings

  • New routes have left some children on buses until 10 p.m. on the first day
  • Parents frustrated with inadequate communication about pickup, drop times
  • Districts: Shortage remains primary concern

(NewsNation) — Redesigned bus routes coupled with a shortage of drivers have led to delays or cancelation of school openings and even in some cases where schools are open, late drop-offs have been an issue.

Jefferson County Public Schools, the largest school district in Kentucky with a student population of 96,000, is grappling with these challenges. As a result, some schools were closed Monday and will remain closed Tuesday.

Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio addressed the challenges on Friday, including the extended bus ride times for students last Wednesday following the start of the school year.

Many parents are frustrated by the district’s inadequate communication about pickup and drop-off times. Reports have indicated that some last bus riders weren’t dropped off until 10 p.m.

Berkeley Collins said one of her daughters encountered this issue on the first day of school. Her daughter, who is in elementary school, was left without an assigned bus route, resulting in her not being able to be picked up from school until around 6 p.m.

“I had spoken to the principal actually multiple times that week, on trying to get her assigned a bus, she was never assigned a bus to go home,” Collins said. “When I called, they said, “I am so sorry.” You’re just gonna have to come up here and get her. We cannot provide a bus to get her home.”

Collins said her daughter was stranded there as she had to wait for her oldest daughter to get off of the bus before she could get her daughter from school.

“When I got to the school, this is an elementary school, by 6 p.m., there was still a large car rider line, it was going all the way out to the main street looping around the school,” Collins recalled. “When I walked into that school, it was like the entire school was still sitting in the cafeteria.”

JCPS vows to rectify the current situation to the best of its ability.

“There’s going to be challenges and there’s going to be delays. We are working in the same system but it’s going to be much more efficient and our communication will be much better with our families and schools,” Pollio said. “So we want to make sure we get that right before putting kids back on the school bus again.”

UPS, Louisville’s largest employer and shipping giant, is leveraging its expertise in transportation and logistics to enhance the efficiency of bus routes.

Despite the challenges, all extracurricular activities, including athletics, will process as scheduled Monday and Tuesday.

Bus delays have also impacted school openings in Lee County, Florida, leading to students arriving as much as 40 minutes late.

Similarly, in Topeka, Kansas, numerous students experience lateness on both their first day of school and their return home. School officials request patience as bus contractors manage driver shortages and first-day setbacks.

NewsNation reached out to the Jefferson County School District, and officials stated they’re making strides to address busing challenges. However, much like in other areas, the shortage of bus drivers remains the primary concern.


Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending on NewsNation