Local school busing crisis continues with no end in sight

Monday Morning the school bus just drove right past Tanya Leddon’s grandkids while they were waiting at the bus stop.

The situation was particularly challenging, because her daughter Rachel Nash, doesn’t have a car.  In addition to that, she lives in South Buffalo and her kids’ school is on the other side of town off of East Ferry Street.

“It’s frustrating. I have many appointments during the week, and I’m trying to do schooling myself,” said Nash.

There’s also the late drop-off times. Parents say there’s barely enough time for dinner, homework and family time.

“I really do think these kids should go back to remote until they figure out the bus shortage,” said Leddon.

The district and First Student addressed the problem of busing during a meeting Wednesday night. First Student says they’ve been working tirelessly to fill the bus driver positions by doing more outreach and beefing-up recruitment efforts.

Since September, First Student received 679 applications for bus drivers. They made contingent offers of employment to 332 applicants. Barry Fitzgerald, senior vice president for First Student says the process from turning a bus driver applicant into an actual bus driver could take weeks because of the testing and permit process.

Another issue they’re facing is that with the onset of winter many drivers quit because of challenges associated with driving buses in winter conditions. 

As far as what’s next for the Buffalo Public School District, board member-at-large Larry Scott says they plan on looking at the possibility of creating a transportation task force, they may also consider having the district’s 7th and 8th graders take the NFTA bus and revisit the possibility of getting assistance from the National Guard.

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