Bus driver shortages spur walking zone modifications

A Carson City School District bus driver brings in students to Fritsch Elementary School on the first day of school Aug. 15, 2022.

A Carson City School District bus driver brings in students to Fritsch Elementary School on the first day of school Aug. 15, 2022.
Photo by Jessica Garcia.

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Days ahead of the new school year, Carson City School District officials have announced walking zones have been modified for all middle and high school students from 2 to 2.5 miles due to increasing bus driver shortages.
Superintendent Andrew Feuling announced during Tuesday’s school board meeting the district would not be able to provide full transportation service under its current service because of a lack of bus drivers.
“Families are encouraged to transport students to and from school,” Feuling said.
Some bus routes have been consolidated for elementary, middle and high school routes. For students who previously have ridden the bus, updated bus schedules are available online and in Spanish, according to a CCSD release. Families can locate bus stops closest to their home based on their child’s designated school.
Trustee Joe Cacioppo asked Feuling whether the administration could revert the walking zones back to the original boundaries if the district received enough applicants to fill the driver positions, and Feuling said the potential exists to do so, but it depends on the timing based on discussions with the district’s transportation director. Changes are possible at the semester or in the middle of the year, but Feuling said to expect this change to impact all of 2022-23.
“The concern we would have to talk through is the confusion it would cause for parents if we go back to the regional bus stops,” he said. “If someone wanted to become a bus driver but had no experience and no CDL (commercial driver’s license) … we would have to have that conversation about what to do.”
Trustee Mike Walker said potential walking routes could vary around Eagle Valley Middle School where there are no sidewalks and recommended looking at the Nevada Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program.
Later in the board meeting, associate superintendent Dan Sadler provided an update on the district’s staffing shortages in which he announced as of Tuesday, the transportation department still needed to fill six driver and two bus attendant vacancies. There also was one mechanic position available.
Feuling said education keeps taking the brunt of the nation’s unemployment woes, citing Clark County School District’s 236 bus driver vacancies and facing 40% vacancies in its teaching staff. He noted that Clark County is 41 times the size of Carson City.
“We’re like this microcosm from what is happening,” Feuling said, adding Nye, Elko, Lyon and Washoe counties all have struggled filling teacher and driver positions.
Anyone interested in applying for a driver position is welcome to apply with the district. A $2,000 hiring bonus is available. For more information, call Human Resources at 775-283-2130.


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