GRANITE CITY, Ill. — Some Granite City students will not be able to take the bus to school this week due to a shortage of drivers and the district is asking parents to find other means of transportation.
From Tuesday, Aug. 31 through Friday, Sept. 3, the district will provide bus transportation only for students in kindergarten through fourth grades and special education students in kindergarten through 12th grades, according to a letter posted on the district's website.
Students in fifth through 12th grade who are unable to find transportation will be granted excused absences and will be able to make up school work, the letter says.
The district contracts out its bus service to a bus company, Illinois Central, and it is working with the company to reevaluate current routes and consider other options to provide transportation.
"However, despite these efforts, we anticipate this problem to continue and possibly grow," the letter says. "We will continue to work with the Illinois State Board of Education, our Regional Board of Education and our bus company to find a long-term solution."
Tuesday afternoon, the district announced Madison County Transit will offer free bus rides to students through Sept. 30.
The three Granite City schools affected by the school bus driver shortage (Grigsby, Coolidge and Granite City High School) are along MCT's current routes.
Students who wish to use this service will need to show their student identification, schedule on their bus route app or a school-issued Chromebook.
"We are so grateful for the MCT Board for allowing our district students who were affected to ride the regular bus routes for free for an entire month," Superintendent Stephanie M. Cann said in a press release. "This definitely helps the situation for many of our families affected (5th-12th grade) to potentially get to school a different way."
For more information on MCT routes and information, click here.
Other school districts in the St. Louis area have faced bus driver shortages, prompting them to change their routes and services.
Earlier this summer, the Rockwood School District told families that students who live within one mile of their school will have to find other means of transportation. The district is down 43 school bus drivers compared to last year.