Bus driver shortage: Middleton schools considering asking students to walk up to 2 miles to school
MIDDLETON, Wis. (WMTV) - Faced with a “critical” bus driver shortage, the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District says it hopes to reduce the number of bus routes and could change who has to walk to school.
Increasing the walk zone is an option on the table, according to Shannon Valladolid, a district spokesperson.
Right now, students can ride the bus if they live at least 1.1 miles from the school they attend. The school board is considering a recommendation to increase the distance, requiring bus riders to live at least two miles away from school.
“Is two miles a doable walk?” Claire Mankey, who walks her daughter to Sauk Trail Elementary School, said. “I guess that depends a lot on the individual. I mean, ideally, there would be enough bus drivers and we would have that access.”
In a video to parents published Wednesday, Superintendent Dana Monogue said the district is short eight bus drivers. “Rather than make a significant change during the school year that will disrupt services for our families and students, such as increasing the walk zone. we are reaching out to you for help,” she said.
“We are looking at condensing our bus routes before we make any changes to walk zones,” Valladolid wrote to NBC15. She said families can help the district meet its goal by opting out of bus rides.
Seventh grader Adala Alnotery, who attends Kromrey Middle School, said, “I just think that it is a little not fair for [those with] disabilities and younger kids that can’t exactly stand a long walk from home to school.”
The school bus industry continues to experience a “critical” shortage of drivers, according to Cherie Hime, executive director of the Wisconsin School Bus Association. She said many school districts around the country have expanded the walking distance.
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