SCCPSS dealing with bus driver shortage for new school year

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – The Savannah-Chatham Public School System is just five days away from the start of the school year, but they are short about 80 school bus drivers.

The bus routes are now available for parents – they had to make several adjustments to make the most of their routes with a limited number of bus drivers.

To help with the shortage of the district is pushing up bell times at Godley Station K-8 and pushing back bell times at New Hampstead and Rice Creek K-8.

The change also affects all elementary schools by placing them on a singular bell time with school starting at 9:15 am However, they still are prioritizing who rides the bus.

Students who qualify to ride if they require special transportation are ESOl students, McKinney Vento students and students who go to their zoned school in elementary, K8, middle or high school.

Students of all grade levels from elementary school through high school that go to choice schools do not qualify to ride the bus this upcoming school year.

Unless there are some major changes, this is how it will be for the entire school year.

“If we find that is an option, certainly we will come back and say maybe we could do more but it would require a significant number of drivers so that we can be certain because we don’t want to say yes we can only to find out no we really cannot,” said SCCPSS Transportation Lead Director Tammy Perkins.

If your student is riding the bus this year, don’t forget the district will do their live run the day before the first day on August 2.

The school buses will be out at the regular morning pick up times. The kids and their parents can ride to school before circling right back to drop them off, so they are used to the process and not so anxious on the first day.

Another tool to help, you can download the “Here comes the Bus” app to track exactly where the school bus is before picking up your student.

The district is hosting their back to school expo this weekend.

Just days away from the new school year, the district is urging parents to not wait until the first day of school if you have any questions. You can always call the school or everybody will be in one place for the expo Saturday.

Representatives from all of the schools will be at the Savannah Mall on Saturday from 9 am until 2 pm

Staff will be there to help families with any questions they have about school readiness, transportation, nutrition, athletics and student organizations.

If you recently moved or are new to the district, you can also register on Saturday, just make sure you bring proof of residency along with you.

“We are so glad to have everyone back in person, every school will be there, there will be a wealth of persons to answer questions, to provide actual information so we will have all kinds of fun activities and games, giveaways for our students and just an opportunity for our families to engage with their child’s school,” said Interim Deputy Superintendent Bernadette Ball-Oliver.

One of the important changes this year is with school nutrition. Meals will not be free like they have been the last two years during the pandemic. They encourage everyone to fill out a form for free and reduced lunch.

You can do that online at home or you can get some help with it at the expo.

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