Bus driver shortages are affecting districts throughout the state, said David Andersen, deputy superintendent of school operations, and CISD staff has had to make adjustments to their routes as a result.
“Transportation this year has done a really good job of providing transportation within the constraints of not being able to recruit and retain the number of bus drivers and bus assistants that we would normally like to have,” Andersen said. “If we were under normal operations and not at all the adjustments we made, we could be running as many as 150 routes on a daily basis. ... Currently there are about 100 routes.”
During the fall of 2021, office staff of the transportation department who have their commercial driver license stepped in to fill vacancies and drivers assisted each other with completing routes, Andersen said.
Staggered start times at area schools and combined routes also helped to alleviate some transportation issues, he said.
However, Andersen said the current solutions are not sustainable and that district officials are developing a plan to improve the transportation system in the event that not enough drivers are hired in the near future.
Officials have discussed the possibility of ending service to homes where students live within a 2-mile radius of their school, which Andersen said would affect approximately 5,000 students.
District staff is expected to present more data to the board during a Jan. 12 special meeting, and the district is not expected to take action on any possible changes until early 2022.
“Regardless of what the data shows, if we don’t have bus drivers, we don’t have bus drivers, and that’s just the reality of it,” trustee Courtney Biasatti said.