Bus driver shortage: Pasco schools consider changing start times

Pasco County

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — School leaders in Pasco County are considering changing school start times to alleviate the impact of a school bus driver shortage.

“This year, the bus driver shortage is worst than ever,” says Superintendent Kurt Browning.

Parents tell 8 On Your Side they notice the issue.

“My daughter actually has a friend who attends a different middle school and she waits two hours in the morning to catch the bus at her bus stop and she waits two hours in the evening for the bus to come back,” said Jamie Hernandez.

Browning says there aren’t enough bus drivers to cover the routes and kids are chronically late to class, missing out on instruction time.

The superintendent hopes adjusting school start times will allow them to maximize the number of bus drivers available and make sure students are getting enough time in the classroom.

“We can spread the drivers out and use fewer drivers to carry the same number of kids. It’s an unfortunate place that we find ourselves and nobody is happy about it including this superintendent,” Browning said.

Click here for the link to the proposed changes

The shortage is an issue in district across the Bay Area.

  • Hillsborough – 100+ vacancies
  • Pinellas – 40 vacancies
  • Polk – 53 vacancies
  • Manatee – 13 vacancies
  • Pasco – 88 vacancies

Parents in Pasco County are trying to see the positive of the proposed change.

“If it’s later, I mean just by like 15 minutes, might give her a little extra time to get ready in the morning to maybe have breakfast at home. It might benefit her,” said Charies Mejias.

School board members will be talking about the propose changed during a work session at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Public comment will not be allowed but the session is open to local families.

The school board will allow public comment on the matter during their regularly scheduled meeting on November 2nd.

If approved the schedule changes won’t go into effect until January.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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