Re: FY 22-23 Bus Transportation
Dear Parent Learning Community,
ANNOUNCEMENT FOR AWARENESS ONLY: NO IMMEDIATE ACTION IS REQUIRED.
As the Preston Learning Community prepares to begin the FY 22-23 school year, we are concerned that we may experience a shortage of qualified bus drivers. Recent news stories (August 1, 2022, NBC Evening News) announced that there are over 1,000 bus driver openings in the state of Connecticut. The lack of available bus drivers is a national concern. Locally, Preston Public Schools owns and operates its bus fleet and we partner with companies like Curtin and STA to back up our capacity. However, our Transportation Team’s dedication to our learning community and our children does not insulate us from the challenges that are emerging at the local, state, and national levels around buses.
Over the last few years, our team has done an exceptional job keeping buses on the road, working to recreate bus routes, share routes, and coordinate adjustments day to day. As we approach the beginning of the school year, we are seeking at least three new bus drivers. After posting and reaching out to our network of possible candidates, the response has been sparse. We continue to look at a set of alternatives should we face a driver shortage as we open school.
We are looking into many options, including,
reorganizing bus routes and examining the possibility of longer bus rides
creating localized bus stops
exploring inter-district partnerships
examining collective bargaining options to create incentives to attract and keep drivers
investigating the impact of requesting support from parents who have the capacity to carpool
surveying various state options through the Connecticut State Department of Education and the Department of Transportation
The goal of the entire district leadership team is to maintain the well-respected tradition and obligation of providing transportation to all of our students using a door-to-door pickup and drop-off system. However, as you are now aware, this is becoming more and more challenging.
As the first day of school approaches, please look for building and transportation team communications regarding any changes in transportation practices. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts or suggestions regarding this issue please do not hesitate to contact the central office at 860-889-6893 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all you do to support our district and our community.
Roy Seitsinger, Superintendent