EDMOND, Okla. – Due to a bus driver shortage, Edmond Public Schools are eliminating bus services in 10 neighborhoods that are within one mile of a neighborhood school.
"A bus should be something that kids should be able to have to get to school on time,” said Ashleigh Burleson.
Burleson, an Edmond resident and parent, said they started feeling the effects of the bus driver shortage last year.
"My daughter lost her bus driver halfway through, and then they were trying to sub drivers and the bus would show up sometimes or wouldn't,” Burleson said.
Burleson and her boyfriend, Kyle, are now having to figure out how to get the kids to school this year, because bus service for the boys’ school has now been eliminated.
"With my 6-year-old, I'm concerned about him, you know, riding his bike to school. It's not very far but, having that knowledge that he's safely on the bus on the way to school, that makes me feel better,” Burleson said.
Officials with Edmond Public Schools said they understand the concerns. However, right now, their hands are tied.
"It's always been a challenge to find bus drivers. But, in the last two or three weeks, we have lost an additional 12 drivers. So, we are down 29 at this point,” said Susan Parks-Schlepp with Edmond Public Schools.
Parks-Schlepp said this is considered a critical shortage.
"It's a tough choice we have to make in order to improve service for the 8,000 students who rely on our best transportation every day,” Parks-Schlepp said.
The problem is there are vacant positions and nobody to fill them.
That’s why officials are trying to spread the word, even raising the salary, hoping to recruit some hardworking Oklahomans.
For the 2017-2018 school year, bus services from the following neighborhoods to the affected school will be eliminated:
If the shortage improves, bus services to affected neighborhoods could be re-established.
For any additional questions, you can call the district’s Transportation Department at 405-340-2962 or click here.