Nevada school district cuts general education routes due to bus driver shortages


Some students in the Washoe County School District in northwest Nevada will not have school bus service when they return from President’s Day weekend because there aren’t enough drivers to pick them up.

In fact, most general education students will need to find other ways to get to and from school one week a month for the rest of the school year. The second-largest school district in the state that serves the Reno area announced the move Monday in a letter to families.

Scott Lee, Washoe’s transportation manager, said School Transport News that the district had 88 vacant bus driver positions as of Wednesday afternoon. Lee said that when full, Washoe has 303 driver positions.

“The average number of employees we have behind the wheel is about 27, but we have also reached out to former school bus drivers from other departments in our district to help us out,” he explained.

He added that ongoing consolidations and changes in transportation patterns already completed this school year have also reduced the total number of routes to account for increased driver vacancies.

Starting Tuesday, a series of rotating bus schedules come into effect suspending bus service one week at a time for each of the district’s five service areas, impacting general education students of 75 campuses throughout the district. Lee said the change will affect 15,000 to 16,000 general education students.

Federally protected students with disabilities who have transportation as a related service listed on their Individual Education Plan will not be affected. The same goes for neighborhood schools classified as “walking only,” Lee noted.

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Continuous bus service outages begin next week in Zone 2, which includes 11 elementary schools, four middle schools and two high schools. It then moves the week of February 28 to Zones 3 and 4 made up of 21 elementary schools, four middle schools and four high schools. Next to be affected is Zone 5 and its five elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school the week of March 7.

Washoe then goes on spring break from March 14 to 25.

Zone 1 and its 12 elementary schools, five middle schools and four high schools are skipped the week of March 28. The outages then continue, repeating in the same pattern above for the rest of the school year, which is expected to end in June. 7


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