It’s hard to believe the school year is right around the corner. We have back-to-school information on our website, and more details are coming in the weeks ahead. We’re excited to have all of our students back for full-time in-person learning this fall!
BUS DRIVER SHORTAGE
We do need to let you know that districts across the state and nation, including ours, are continuing to face serious bus driver shortages. This summer, we hired and trained nine new bus drivers but are still at least eight drivers (about 20%) short for the start of the school year.
Our district continues advertising and recruiting drivers; offering paid CDL training and up to $2,500 in new driver incentives plus full benefits for most drivers, retirement contributions and competitive wages. We hope to have more drivers soon, but it takes eight weeks to complete our state’s rigorous training and testing process.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOUR CHILD?
All of our busses will be at or near capacity. While students will be masked, parents uncomfortable having their child on a full bus should consider driving or carpooling. Unfortunately, without more drivers or fewer riders, we may also need to do the following until we can hire more drivers:
- Expand non-transport zones to schools (with added crossing guards, as needed).
- At middle school and high school levels only, students may have bus service for three or four consecutive weeks, followed by one week without bus service. Families would need to arrange their own student transportation for that assigned week. This approach shares the impact of the driver shortage equitably, rather than cancelling a number of typical routes.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
You can help all of our bus riders by doing any or all of the following:
- Arrange to carpool your children or have your high schooler drive or carpool. Reducing the number of riders can help consolidate routes.
NOTE: We are offering free parking at MSHS so that more high school students can drive or carpool. To help with your planning/consideration, here is the 2021-22 Bell Times Schedule.
- Complete the RSVP Process in Family Access for each of your SVSD students as soon as possible (coming Monday, August 9). Confirming your students’ transportation needs (along with other information) will help us maximize routes and make informed decisions.
- Help recruit more bus drivers.
- Consider becoming a school bus driver yourself.
Here’s a link to our Job Opportunities page and online application. If you need help applying, please reach out to Sam Pedersen in our HR department at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions about becoming a driver, please contact our Transportation Director Belle Tromp at email@example.com or call 425-831-8020.
We appreciate your help next week to quickly confirm your students’ transportation needs via the RSVP Process. The faster families respond, the faster we’ll be able to communicate changes. We hope to notify families by no later than Monday, August 23, about any impacts on bussing or walking routes.
We know having transportation limitations is a hardship on families, and we’re doing all we can to find more drivers. We appreciate your help and understanding as we work through this together.
Snoqualmie Valley School District