Progress ‘slow, but there’ on Charlottesville school bus woes

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 10:31 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - After some difficult months, Charlottesville’s school bus problems are slowly getting better.

The problem had to do with a shortage of bus drivers, a familiar problem for many schools. Couple that with new social distancing policies that restrict the bus capacity, and the waitlist to board the bus was getting lengthy. But now, that’s getting resolved.

In front of the school board, Charlottesville school officials said they are optimistic about the state of transportation.

“The progress is slow, but it’s there,” said Assistant Superintendent Kim Powell said.

Powell said CCS has five more drivers now than it did just three months ago. As a result, the waitlist dropped from 887 in September to 699 in November. She predicts it’s only a matter of weeks before that’s reduced even further.

“Transportation is working right now to get three additional routes ready to serve up to around 360 additional students immediately following winter break,” Powell said. “That’ll cut that waitlist in about half.”

This is welcome news for the school board.

“Things have improved drastically, so I do appreciate your staff and all your hard work,” said Board Member James Bryant.

The attendance rate across city schools was at 95% in November, an encouraging sign. That’s the target for the school district, as it reflects a pre-pandemic number.

“With all of the hard work of our families and community, the challenging decisions going on between transportation and schools, we’re able to maintain that 95% attendance rate,” Powell said.

The school district said it’s also keeping track of new immigrants in the city, some of whom are living in hotels, to see if that has any impact on transportation needs.

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