ROCKFORD (WREX) — Bus routes for schools at RPS 205 are going to be modified in September due to a staff shortage.
RPS 205 says Rockford is affected by the local, state and nationwide worker shortage, and it’s especially affecting their ability to recruit bus drivers and transportation staff.
"At this time, we do not have enough bus drivers to support every route that our K-12 students need when school starts Sept. 2," the school district posted in their RPS 205 Vibe blog.
The district says they're planning to provide transportation to 148 of 160 planned bus routes each day. Every day, some bus routes will not be provided.
The affected bus routes will rotate among RPS 205 schools, so once every two weeks, the same group of students will not receive a bus. This breaks down to be about two days each month that students will need alternative transportation to and from school, because an RPS 205 bus driver is not available.
Affected bus routes are listed on the school district's website for Thursday, Sept. 2 and Friday, Sept. 3. Please look closely at your school’s bus route.
For example, it’s possible students could have a driver in the morning but not after school. RPS 205 says they'll post the rest of the month of September as soon as possible.
"We hope that families work together with their school and community support systems to cover those days. Schools will provide extended drop-off and pick-up windows for families when regular busing won’t be provided. We hope this situation is temporary. We have a schedule planned for the month of September. We are optimistic that the latest incentive programs and signing bonuses for new drivers will help us hire and train enough staff to cover our bus routes in the coming months."RPS 205
This driver shortage will also affect after-school activity buses and athletic buses. Some activity buses will not be available; those dates and routes are listed in the transportation calendar.
For athletics, transportation will be provided after 4:30 p.m., when regular school routes have ended for the day. High school coaches and athletic directors will work together to plan for alternative transportation when possible.
RPS 205 says families with students who do not need transportation should contact the Transportation Department to be removed from a bus route. Bus seating is limited, and space should be reserved for families who need the service.