ST. LOUIS — Saint Louis Public Schools are rerouting some of their bus services with the new school year beginning on Aug. 22.
SLPS announced on Monday the move will suspend routes to eight schools for the first few weeks of the school year and aims to get more bus drivers on the road. SLPS said the district is removing the schools from the routing schedule and will provide alternative transportation, to those 3,450 students.
“At least for the first few weeks of school, we are providing Metro Link bus passes (or gas cards) for students at Central Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), Collegiate School of Medical and Bioscience (CSMB), Gateway STEM, Roosevelt, Sumner and Vashon. School leaders will help familiarize them with their routes," SLPS Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams said in a release.
“We plan to speak directly with parents of elementary students at Betty Wheeler Classical Junior Academy (formerly CJA) and Mallinckrodt to ensure transport in various ways, up to and including mileage reimbursements of $75 per week (gas cards) for one family car to handle pick up and drop off (The rate is the same per family no matter how many students are involved).” The reimbursements will be issued each Friday, Adams said.
Adams said SLPS is currently down 65 bus drivers, but is confident the district will hire those workers soon.
“We had several options. We could have shut down school for the next two weeks. That wasn’t an option. We came up with a solution that we that we think works for fir the first two weeks of school, ”Adams said.
Adams estimated the bus routes would be returned within ten days.
SLPS said that while parents initially received an email with routes and bus numbers, they should look for a new release that will confirm the new bus numbers after this latest reroute.
Meanwhile, the district continues the hiring push.
“Our applications are coming in. We have a good flow, but it takes time to get a school bus permit and so we anticipate our numbers to continue to improve over the coming weeks. As we get drivers and get them licensed our hope is to start to bring routes back again and give the service parents in the St. Louis Public Schools district deserve,” said Scott Allen with Missouri Central Bus Company.