Like many other school districts across the nation, SCCPSS is facing a critical staffing shortage among bus drivers. While the District has expended a significant effort to recruit and retain drivers, the number of drivers who are currently employed as of the close of June raises significant concerns regarding the District's ability to function in respect to transportation services when the 2021-22 School Year begins. This shortage has impacted operational capacity to a level where route reductions must be considered.
In a traditional school year, 290-300 drivers are required to transport 25,000 students who utilize transportation. Current driver staffing levels available for active transport (after staffing reserve) is 217. SCCPSS will not be able to offer transportation services at the same levels prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Route availability will be balanced based on student and staff safety, staffing capacity, and the ability to offer on-time arrivals.
Without an influx of staff who are properly trained and who hold the proper credentials for the operation of a school bus, the District must prioritize ridership for students. Priority one will include students who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan that specifically stipulates a requirement for transportation, ESOL and McKinney Vento (Homeless) Students.
Other priorities will include neighborhood zoned elementary, middle, K-8 and high school students. SCCPSS will work to offer an equitable solution for all students to the extent staffing levels will allow and will continually monitor route offerings based on driver availability to include reserve staffing levels.
PARENT REGISTRATION: Parents with students who have been identified in a defined priority level for transportation will be required to register for services. Registration will be provided through an online registration portal that will be issued by July 9, 2021. SCCPSS families will receive additional information from the District regarding the registration process and their priority level by July 9, 2021. Parents will be provided an opportunity to update their information in PowerSchool. This includes email, phone number and current residence. Additional information for address updates will be provided.
SY 21-22 PRIORITY LEVELS ESTABLISHED FOR TRANSPORTATION SERVICES
*Students have been preliminarily identified to receive transportation. Registration Required.
- Priority 1: Identified students with IEP or 504 that requires Special Transportation Services, ESOL, and McKinney Vento (Homeless) students
- Priority 2: Zoned Elementary School & K-8 Students
- Priority 3: Zoned Middle School & High School Students
OTHER PRIORITY LEVELS: Transportation Service Not Currently Available
*SCCPSS is not able to provide transportation at this time.
- Priority 4: Choice Elementary School & K8 Students
- Priority 5: Choice Middle School & High School Students and Alternative Education Students
*Charter School Transportation Service Agreements will be offered after priority levels have been achieved and staffing levels allow. Charter Schools receive funding allocations to secure site-based pupil transportation solutions. Charter Schools may procure transportation services to include services offered by the school district. The District seeks to offer service options when staff capacity allows.
SCCPSS students will be transported via safe and efficient school bus routes to ensure students are delivered to school on time. COVID-19 safety protocols continue to be an area of focus and precautionary mitigation steps will continue on the bus to include the requirement of wearing a mask while riding the bus and sanitizing/disinfecting, loading, and unloading procedures.
Routes will be reviewed regularly as driver capacity levels increase or decrease. Routes will stay in place for the first semester of SY 22 and the District will make modifications to account for staff level changes (if any) at the start of semester two, January 2022.
The District values its transportation staff and continues to recognize their critical importance in the daily operation of the school system. Market conditions locally and nationally have placed pressure on the driver job market. Competition among other transportation companies combined with the extensive training and credential requirements for drivers is contributing to staffing challenges. This trend has been increasing for a number of years and the pandemic impacts have created a tipping point for the District. Recruitment and incentive offerings have been in place and will continue. SCCPSS remains hopeful that driver staffing levels will see positive gains in the coming months that will allow for increased offerings.
SCCPSS is actively and aggressively recruiting and training candidates. The SCCPSS Transportation Department is managing a recruitment campaign that includes television/radio, community job fairs, hosting district only job fairs, and outdoor media. Anyone who is interested in joining the SCCPSS Transportation team should apply today! School bus drivers are needed! Click this link to apply.