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St. Louis public schools shortens school day in response to bus driver shortages

More than a dozen schools will be impacted by changes beginning Oct. 3.

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) will shorten the school day in response to the ongoing bus driver shortage issue.

The district has seen a lot of transportation woes this past year, a lot of them spurred by the pandemic.

SLPS suspended service to eight schools at the beginning of this year and changed routes.       

This week, the school system announced another step to reduce the demand for vehicles and drivers.

Beginning on Oct. 3, SLPS will shorten the school day by ten minutes for all 1st Tier schools at the end of the day. 

If the school currently lets out at 2:07 p.m., the students will now be released at 1:57 p.m.

This will impact the following schools:

In addition, Mallinckrodt Academy of Gifted Instruction will be shifting to a 9:20 a.m. morning bell, dismissing at 4:17 pm.   

District officials stated the change will allow the addition of between 10 and 14 bus routes and increased service to the eight schools that, up until now, have been disrupted.

“We can't control the number of people that want to drive buses so we've been looking very deeply into the things that we can control," George Sells, director of communications, said. "We can control bell times...we can control routes and our folks have gotten creative."

Bjorn Ranheim has a third grader at Mallinckrodt for gifted instruction.

The musician told 5 On Your Side he was lucky enough to have a flexible schedule but said it would impact getting to and from after-school activities.

"We have really kind of short windows to be able to get them there and now learning that the school day is going to end 20 minutes later," Ranheim said. "...that throws that whole plan into flux...".

The parent added while he understood workforce issues, he longed for consistency.

“To have that solidity of the day so that you know what time they go,"  Ranheim said. "You know what time they come home so you can set your life."

“I know that this is hard for families, and we keep apologizing because we don't want it to be like this," Sells said.

To help parents keep up with the changing routes, download Missouri Central's "Here Comes the Bus" GPS bus tracking app

It allows parents to track their students in real time while they are on the bus.

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