Middlebury schools streamlining bus routes next year
Middlebury Community Schools are taking steps that could affect your child's bus route. Starting this fall, students will no longer be picked up or dropped off at different stops.
Officials hope the move helps them cope with a driver shortage.
Until now, Middlebury school buses had the ability to pick up and drop off students at more than one place, be that mom's house, dad's house or a daycare provider.
But that system will change in the fall when buses will only pick up and drop off students at one location. Affected students and parents will have to decide.
“Which means they have to choose one spot where their child would be picked up to go to school every day all year long and the same for coming home -- where they will be dropped off every day,” said Middlebury schools superintendent Jane Allen.
Some parents may have to scramble to make sure their child is in the same spot every day.
Allen says the change will affect 10 percent of the more than 4,000 students in the Middlebury district who use the bus to get back and forth, to class, which amounts to about 400 of them. She wants to get the word out now so that parents and students affected can adjust accordingly.
The reason for the move is a shortage of bus drivers to handle the current routes.
"We are going to be down five drivers at the beginning of the school year, correct. We've got several drivers that are going to retire at the end of the year, and I am having a hard time replacing those drivers at this point,” said Middlebury Community Schools Transportation Director Michelle Willey.
“We'll make our routes streamlined so we can have less buses being used because we have less drives to drive them,” Allen said “That our issue right now.”
Current drivers say the job isn't for everyone.
“You have to multi-task with this job. You've got to be able to have different points of view, constantly going in a 360 in the mind. You’ve got children, you've got the traffic,” said driver Tracy Leduc.