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RCSD Facing Bus Driver Shortage, Scrambling to Get Drivers

Staff Report

The Rochester City School District (RCSD) says they are experiencing a significant shortage of bus drivers and currently does not have enough drivers to transport students when schools open September, 8th.

According to a statement sent out Thursday, the districts transportation providers First Student and Monroe Transportation needs 70 more drivers in order to fulfil the route commitments.

“In an effort to mitigate this issue, the district changed start and dismissal times at many of our elementary schools.  Because of the continued resignation of drivers, this has been an ever-changing issue and we are at a critical point with the first day of school rapidly approaching,” the statement reads.

“The District leadership team has been working tirelessly to reach a solution that will ensure high quality education for all of our scholars.

At this juncture, all options are being considered with the understanding that this shortage may continue to impact transporting our students.  We are meeting with various stakeholder groups today to share these options and will share the determination as soon as possible.”

Nationally, school districts across our nation are facing a shortage of school bus drivers.  This shortage has a variety of causes, but it is beyond dispute that this situation has reached crisis proportions.

The district is planning an emergency meeting Friday at 12:30 to address the situation.

The shortage is further compounded by social distancing guidelines; buses can’t have more than a certain number of students on them.

“Ironically, the solution to this national crisis will be local, and will require that we work together collaboratively and creatively to come up with solutions to this most urgent crisis,” Board President Van White stated.

“I am pleased to report that the Superintendent, my colleagues and I are receiving countless calls, emails, and texts, from across this community, from citizens who have very specific ideas in terms of how we might respond to this shortage.”

The Rochester City School District transports 31,000 students in public, private and parochial, charter, urban/suburban, and outside special education agencies in more than 110 different locations.