The nationwide bus driver shortage has resulted in transportation cuts at Springfield Public Schools, the district announced Friday.
Around 1,500 students will be impacted by a change starting Nov. 8, when elementary and K-8 school students must live 2 miles or more from school and middle and high school students must live 2.5 miles or more from school to receive transportation. The district provided a copy of the announcement, which originally went to parents, to Springfield Business Journal.
SPS officials said the temporary change is necessary since the district now has fewer bus drivers now than when the semester started in August.
"We started the school year understaffed in our transportation department, but it was our hope that aggressive recruitment efforts and offering increased wages, benefits and other incentives would help us hire and retain bus drivers," the announcement reads. "While we have recruited new bus drivers, the competitive job market has resulted in the loss of other drivers."
SPS officials said the three-tier transportation system schedule implemented earlier this year has assisted with the shortage, noting it would be a worse situation had the initiative not been introduced. The three-tier system reduced the need for 25 routes, equating to 25 drivers, said John Mulford, deputy superintendent of operations for SPS, in a recent interview with SBJ.
SPS currently is looking at support systems for families, such as free city bus passes.
The congregation at Crossway Baptist Church is building a children’s wing at the west end of the church, and beginning in 2024, it will be home to a Christian academy.