Bus driver shortage forces district to remove dozens of bus routes, parents’ concerns grow

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – Comal Independent School District parents have resorted to carpooling each other’s children in response to the district removing dozens of bus routes.

School district officials said they were forced to limit bus routes this fall due to a lack of staffing.

When neighbors found out their bus routes would be cut, they began a Facebook chat to coordinate carpooling to school. Teresa Molina will be taking five extra children to class.

“I’m lucky enough to be able to stay home and take my kids to school, so it doesn’t really affect me too much,” Molina said. “I don’t know how they’re going to get their kids to school in time and get to work on time, pick them up on time, and it’s going to be pretty difficult.”

Comal ISD officials estimate at least 1,300 families will be impacted by this change, including a neighborhood nearly a mile away from Johnson Ranch Elementary, as the district classified them as a “walk zone.” However, parents have safety concerns.

“There’s barely a shoulder. Last year, off the top of my head, I can think of three accidents that happened right there at the entrance to the school. There’s rarely ever police presence,” Molina said.

In an effort to make the drop-off easier on parents, schools will open earlier than usual this fall, according to Comal ISD officials.

Comal ISD spokesperson Steve Stanford said the district is short bus drivers for the second year. Stanford said at least 25 bus drivers are needed.

“This was not a decision that we wanted to make, but it’s just the position that we’re in. And the only solution to it is that we have bus drivers,” Stanford said.

To incentivize more drivers, the district increased the hourly pay to $16.16 and will cover the cost of CDL license training. The district encourages individuals to apply. For more information, click here.

Find out if your address was affected by the bus route changes here.

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