Parents are outraged as Kalamazoo Public Schools are canceling school bus routes on short notice. The district says they cannot find drivers to get behind the wheel.

We've seen the "help wanted" signs all over town. We've seen restaurants closing early and limiting indoor dining due to staff shortages. Now, the shortage of workers is affecting Kalamazoo families with school-aged children. Kalamazoo Public Schools shared the bad news on Facebook September 7.

As you may be aware, there is a nationwide shortage of bus drivers. Kalamazoo Public Schools was able to manage transportation during the first week of school by utilizing every available bus driver employed by the district, including office staff and mechanics with the proper licenses. Due to continued driver shortages, KPS will be forced to cancel identified bus routes on a rolling basis.

-Kalamazoo Public Schools via Facebook on 9/7

You won't be surprised if I tell you parents are angry and upset. Many have jobs and commitments and no other ways to get their children to and from school each day and rely on the buses to transport their kids. KPS did their best to explain what happens from here.

How do you know if your child's bus is affected?

Kalamazoo Public Schools will use the robocall system they use for cancellations and snow days, aiming to get information on affected routes to parents the night before. The important thing is to know your student's bus number.

The goal is, obviously, to limit the number of route cancellations, but also to shift the service each day so no areas are without transportation more than once a week.

What if you can't get them to school?

KPS says, "If you are unable to arrange for alternate transportation, please notify the school of your child’s absence. Your child’s teacher(s) will be able to provide access to missed lessons through Google Classroom."

What's next?

The district is actively hiring drivers, offering paid training, benefits, and bonuses. If you or someone you know needs a full or part-time job, call KPS human resources at (269) 337-0177 or www.kpsjobs.com.

The letter to parents concludes on a sympathetic note:

Kalamazoo Public Schools is not alone in this crisis. School districts across the state and nation are canceling bus routes because of the severe bus driver shortage. We know this causes hardships for families.

 

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NEVER FORGET: Images from 9/11 and the days after