The Lee County School Board will discuss solutions to the district’s school bus driver shortage and the many resulting issues during Tuesday night’s meeting.
It’s no secret: Lee County parents are unhappy with the current school bus system. Children are often picked up late or come home late. Parents regularly receive text alerts about their kids changing buses because a driver is out or a route isn’t on time. Even though the district keeps parents informed, the shuffle is constant.
One parent who takes her daughter to the bus stop at 6 a.m. says the bus doesn’t always come, and her child has missed weeks of school.
In the hopes of hiring more drivers, the Lee County School Board will discuss a short-term solution. The board requests that starting on Feb. 27 and continuing for a year, the School District of Lee County offers to pay the hiring costs associated with becoming a school bus operator, waive the requirement of a high school diploma and provide a $100 incentive for any district employee that refers an applicant to become a bus operator and works for 30 school days.
Another concern is the lottery system that determines which Lee County school a child attends, resulting in many being bussed across town. The district has 637 bus routes, and during a July workshop, the district said its buses deliver more than 2,100 students late to school daily. The school district’s goal is to get as many elementary and middle school students in schools near their homes as possible. By shrinking the school zones, LCSD hopes to do away with tardiness.
If this does go into effect, parents would still have the option to enter the lottery if they want their kids to go somewhere else.