22.05 STA Johnston IA flyer 8.5x11 Were Hiring students QR code v2

Seeking solutions to the bus driver shortage

We understand how important the availability and consistency of the school bus is for our students and families. Riding the bus is a rite of passage for some students, and our ability to deliver your kids to and from school safely represents some of the trust you have in us as a district.

Unfortunately, due to bus driver shortages this year, we’ve fallen short of the standard of service that we would like to provide. We have struggled with combined routes, late arrivals, and late departures; often with short notices to our riders and families about routing changes.

We have worked in partnership throughout the year with our bus service provider, Student Transportation of America (STA) to problem solve around how to address the driver shortage.  STA has made multiple attempts to attract new drivers, including offering hiring bonuses for bus drivers, increasing driver pay, and ramping up advertising efforts. However, as we continue to monitor our current staffing, it is becoming evident that these efforts have not resulted in an adequate number of bus drivers to staff our current routes.

One idea presented to the school board that may help resolve our driver shortage is the consideration of changing our school start and end times, which would reduce the number of bus drivers needed on a daily basis. In the world of transportation, this is referred to as changing from a “2-tier” to a “3-tier” system.

We recognize this type of change would have an impact on our entire system, and likely to you personally.  It is important to us that as we consider this type of change, we engage our community in conversations to hear your thoughts.  Your input, ideas, and suggestions are important to us, and will be taken back to the school board for review.  To learn more about the proposed changes in our bell times for the 2022-23 school year, we invite you to attend one (or more) of the following meetings:

  • April 4, 2022 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. via Zoom Webinar (https://zoom.us/j/94628785099). This meeting has a capacity limit of 1,000 participants.
  • April 21, 2022 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. in the Wallace Elementary Auditorium
  • May 3, 2022 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. in the Johnston High School Auditorium

During these meetings, district leaders will share the proposal, address questions as they are submitted and gather pertinent feedback to share with the school board on April 11, April 25 and May 9. A vote will likely come May 23.

  • We’ll be monitoring the chat during the Zoom call if you have questions, and will also take questions at the in-person meetings.
  • If you are unable to attend, please use this feedback form to submit questions or considerations you would like to share with board members and district leadership.
  • A Q & A document on this topic has been created and will be updated as we go along. Click to find the answers to commonly asked questions.

Thank you for your time and attention to this ongoing discussion. We are committed to continuing to communicate with all of our stakeholders in the coming weeks.

The School Day Begins and Ends on the Bus

TransportationProviding safe, reliable transportation to and from school is a critical part of the school day. The Johnston Community School District is pleased to partner with Student Transportation of America (STA) to offer bus ridership to students in the district’s boundaries.

All transportation-related questions can be directed to the STA office, 515-278-8149, or emailed to Katie McBride at kamcbride@ridesta.com. Alternately you can contact JCSD Transportation Manager Kelly Brose at 515-254-3393 or kbrose@johnston.k12.ia.us.

The office is located at 6350 NW Beaver Dr. in Johnston.

Visit Infinite Campus to view route information

 Non-Public Parent Reimbursement Request Form

*The Non-Public Parent Reimbursement Request From should be returned to: JCSD Finance Dept | PO Box 10 | Johnston, IA 50131 or fax to 515-270-4512.

SafeStop Mobile App

SafeStop is the mobile app that connects parents to the vehicles transporting their children. This free easy-to-use mobile app features neighborhood maps and a MapView bus locator. Using GPS technology, the app updates every 30 seconds to help you better plan for your busy day. SafeStop is operated by a third party and not administered through the district.

Learn how to download SafeStop onto your mobile device

Walk Zones

The Johnston Community School District uses a 1- mile walk zone for students in grades K-9 living within one mile of the school they attend and 2- mile walk zone for Johnston High School students, grades 10-12. When considering the walk zones, there were a number of factors examined, including: safety hazards such a busy roads and non-signal/light cross areas; the availability of sidewalks; and age of students walking these routes. Because each school’s site is unique, the results for walking and busing zones vary. Parents can check transportation eligibility and their distance to their child’s school via the Infinite Campus Parent Portal.


Families will also see one of five transportation eligibility options when they log into the Infinite Campus parent portal, under the “JCSD Transportation” tab. The driving distance from the street in front of a child’s primary address to the bus lane of a child’s assigned school is listed, as measured by the VersaTrans routing software.  As a reminder, there is a 1-mile walk zone for students grades K-9 (each school has a unique map) and a 2-mile walk zone for JHS students.

Bus:  Your child(ren) lives outside the 1-mile or 2-mile walk zone and is eligible for transportation. Bus routing, and pick up/drop off times will be loaded into Infinite Campus prior to the start of school.

No Bus: Your household falls within the 1-mile or 2-mile walk zone and no transportation is provided.  The Johnston Community School District offers a paid ridership application program based on a space-available only basis.

Bus Due to Hazard:While your household may fall within the 1-mile or 2 mile walk zone of your school, there are identified hazards which may prevent your child(ren) from getting to school safely.  Therefore, you will be provided transportation for the current academic year.  Please complete the form at the URL noted above and submit if you are in need of transportation and have not yet requested. Please note that as the City of Johnston continues to improve walkways and add sidewalks around town, walk zones may change. If your residence falls within an area that has recently been improved, the district will notify families of changes to transportation service.

No Bus – Parking Permit:  Tenth through twelfth grade students with approved school parking permits for the academic year have been removed from the bus transportation and routing chart. Learn more about parking information at Johnston High School.

Other – Special Circumstances: At this point, the district is still collecting information on these students, which may be due to a new enrollment, open enrollment, address changes, etc.  We are diligently monitoring this group of students and updating their bus eligibility on a daily basis.  If you fall into this category, please check your status via Infinite Campus daily for changes.

Paid Ridership Services

Families with students in grades K-9 living in the 1-mile walk zone and students in grades 10-12 living in the 2-mile walk zone may elect not to walk and instead, pay for their child(ren) to ride the bus. The Johnston Community School District and STA offer an optional pay-to-ride student transportation program.

Paid ridership is based on a space-available, or open-seats only, basis. This means that if there are seats available on a bus route, transportation will be provided for a fee of $250 per semester. The decision for offering any available seats will be done so using a distance rubric for families (i.e. furthest from school receive first consideration).

Learn More About Paid Ridership

Developmental Kindergarten Transportation

Students in the developmental kindergarten (DK) program will be provided transportation as follows:

  • For students attending the morning session of DK, those living within the 1-mile walk zone of their regularly-zoned elementary school will be responsible for getting to that school where they will then take a district-provided shuttle to the designated DK site. All morning DK students will then be bussed home mid-day, regardless of their distance from the designated site, at no charge.
  • For students attending the afternoon session of DK, they will be bussed mid-day to the designated site at no cost, regardless of their proximity to the school. After school, they will be bused directly to a designated bus stop in their neighborhood.
  • If a student goes to a daycare outside of the home school boundary, the parents or daycare site will be responsible to get the student to Lawson Elementary.

No Guest Riders

Students who are eligible for bus transportation will not be allowed to bring a guest rider(s) on the bus with them. This is a change from previous years and made effective by the Johnston Board of Education in August 2016. The elimination of the guest rider option keeps route sizes consistent on a day-to day basis and ensures all eligible riders receive the transportation they are entitled to.

Bus Safety

Safety at bus stops and on the school bus depends on the cooperation and responsible behavior of every student. Parents are encouraged to review guidelines for getting on and off the bus safely with their children – as well as report any unsafe incidents they witness.

Learn more about bus safety guidelines