LPS emphasizing school bus safety; still experiencing bus driver shortage
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - As Lincoln’s kids return to the classroom, traffic has picked up for the morning commute and residents have probably noticed several school buses.
According to the United States Department of Transportation, getting on or getting off a school bus is the greatest risk to children riding school buses.
Lincoln Public Schools reports that there are more than 3,000 students who ride school buses, and roughly 162 buses driving throughout Lincoln.
The busiest times to expect school buses is between 7-9 a.m., as well as 2-4 p.m. During those times, you should be ready to make complete stops when kids are getting on or off the bus.
“Safety is paramount, so just remember that we understand everyone’s running around, you need to get to work, but we also need to get our kids and students to school safely,” LPS Director of Transportation, Ryan Robley said, “If you see red or yellow flashing lights, please stop and be courteous and patient.”
In order to get children to school safely and on time there needs to be school bus drivers, but for Lincoln Public Schools it may not be that simple. A shortage of school bus drivers is nothing new across Nebraska and the country - and LPS is no exception.
LPS describes it as a desperate need for both bus drivers, as well as paraprofessionals who assist the school bus driver. At this point in time, LPS said they’re 18 bus drivers understaffed and 30 paraprofessionals understaffed.
Robley said this becomes an issue for students, because the less school bus drivers on the roads the later kids will be arriving to school.
“We don’t have enough employees to cover those routes, so we have to double routes,” Robley said, “Some students need to have extended days on the route. Basically what we have to do with those if we have a route we don’t have a driver for, we will have one driver do his route in the morning and then when he’s done with that, will do the drivers route that isn’t here. That usually puts that route between 30 minutes to an hour late.”
LPS describes the bus ride as the first and last classroom of the day. Robley said being understaffed makes it very difficult to keep a schedule.
LPS is always hiring and if you’re interested in becoming a school bus driver or looking for more information, you can visit the website here.
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