By Ella French
Currently in the RCSD, we are facing a major crisis of a bus driver shortage, affecting everyone including students, teachers and families. This shortage has been going on for months now, and does not seem to be coming to an end despite the districts efforts. According to Spectrum News, “Any driver hired between now and April 1 can receive a bonus payment of up to $2,500,” proving that the district is making efforts, which are not being proven to be effective.
This problem began in September, a week before school, when we learned that school might not be able to open due to the lack of bus drivers available. To try to find a solution to this problem, bell schedules for the district changed. Democrat and Chronicle wrote, “The district is short 78 bus drivers with no available substitutes, with more resignations coming in each day. It has already adjusted school start times and asked parents to opt out of busing voluntarily, but neither idea served to solve the problem, which exists across the country.”
For us at East these bell schedule changes mean that school would start at 7:30am, and end at 2:55pm, earlier than we previously began. Coming from remote learning, it was even more difficult to adjust to the new schedule. During remote learning we had school at 9:00am, an hour and a half time difference. This might not seem so drastic, but for a child taking the bus, this could mean having to catch a bus as early as 5:00 am. Giving the average amount of sleep teenagers need at night, this affects our learning.
Teachers now have to find daycares that open super early in the morning, in order for their children to be taking care of. In the evenings, parents whose children aren’t out until 4, have to have their children walk home from the bus stop late, due to daylight saving time, sometimes even in the dark.
The bus driver shortage in the RCSD, is a serious problem affecting everyone in the district. We need to all work together to try to figure out a solution to this growing problem. We can all work together by advocating for ourselves, writing a letter to the mayor and school board. We can also make efforts to try and convince people to become bus drivers. We need to come up with a solution for this problem.