Bus driver shortages cause several route changes for Moorhead students
MOORHEAD, M.N. (Valley News Live) - Changes are coming to the way students in Moorhead will get to and from school this year as the district continues to battle severe bus driver shortages.
Moorhead Area Public Schools says its down 14 drivers, and officials say despite their best recruiting efforts, few are taking the bait.
To make due with the shortage, Director of Operations and Emergency Management for the district, Steve Moore presented four different options to school board members Tuesday night, each with its own pros and set of safety concerns. The board ultimately approved a hybrid option, 4-1, which took the best parts of each four of those plans, and put them into one.
The biggest change with the plan impacts middle, high school and career academy students, as they will now have to find their own transportation if they live within two miles of their schools. By doing so, officials say it frees up at least eight routes, and also allows the radius for elementary students getting a bus ride to stay the same.
A special meeting is being held Thursday night for board members to address and adjust the district’s current policies on hazardous crossings, as many of those intersections will now have to be taken with the new two-mile rule.
The intersection with the most cause for concern both by parents and board members sits at Ridgewood and 34th St., near Horizon Middle School, which Moore says he plans to work with city engineers on in hopes of finding an easy and cost-effective solution before the first day of school.
The other changes the plan brings combines private and public school routes, which means elementary and high school students will be on the same bus. Rural routes will also be combined into just one bus. The downfall of this change is the ride will be nearly two hours long, officials say. Lastly, some routes will be condensed with others, which will mean a large number of riders on those buses. Moore says some buses will see near-capacity numbers, which is 77 riders.
Thursday’s special meeting is set to begin at 6 p.m.
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