Johnston proposes change in school start and end times
JOHNSTON, IA (March 23, 2022) — 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.
- 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.