National Guard Taking Kids to School Amid Bus Driver Shortage
From the National Guard to offering parents cash for driving, school districts are doing whatever they can to help get kids to school.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker called on the services of the National Guard to ebb the issue as 250 guard members from the Bay State drove students to school Monday, CBS News reported.
"The safe and reliable transportation to school each day is critical to our children's safety and education," Baker wrote on Twitter Monday.
They took kids to school not in buses but what is known as 7D vehicles and were trained before Monday morning for the task, NBC Boston reported.
"There are a bunch of communities that have expressed interest in this and we're glad to be able to help because it's important," Baker said in a statement about his radical decision.
The service was first offered in Boston and local officials were reluctant at first, NBC News reported. However, their minds might change.
"The shortage of school bus drivers has been a challenge for school districts across the country this year. We have been working together with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to come up with solutions to transport students safely to and from school each day. We are thankful for Governor Baker's partnership," Lowell schools Superintendent Joel Boyd said in a statement.
The shortage of bus drivers is happening nationwide.
A school district in Rochester, New York, planned to start the school year remote due to lack of bus drivers but decided to have in-person learning and asked parents to drive their kids to school or have them walk, USA Today reported.
One Oregon school district saw their first day of school delayed because some bus drivers had to quarantine from the coronavirus after one employee passed away from the disease, USA Today reported.
The Glassboro School District in Gloucester County, New Jersey, cut its school days short by 45 minutes for middle and high school students due to a lack of bus drivers. While Milwaukee Public Schools said they were about 100 drivers short for its fleet of 700 buses, USA Today reported.
The Eastside Charter School in Wilmington, Delaware, has only one-third the usual number of school bus drivers, so they offered parents cash — up to $700 per kid for the year — to drive students to school.
One Montana school district is offering a $4,000 sign-on bonus for new hires. And, one in Pittsburgh has delayed the start of classes and said hundreds of more children would have to walk, amid the shortage crisis, the Associated Press reported.
New drivers at some Atlanta public schools are being offered $1,000, and a $3,000 signing bonus is rewarded for some of the Baltimore City public schools, CNN reported.
Additional incentives being carried out by some companies that contract bus service with school districts to get new hires are increasing the hourly wage. Some are providing training to get a commercial driver’s license, and others are letting the driver bring their child who is under 1 year of age to work with them, the AP reported.
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