Plymouth-Canton identified some of its busing issues thus far this school year and has drafted a plan of action to remedy the problems.
Phil Freeman, the district's assistant superintendent for facilities and operations, said the district was faced with a shortage of drivers in the weeks before the 2012-13 scool year, necessitating new hires, and dealt with other obstaclces, such as road construction and busing added this year for the Starkweather alternative high school program and a second Talented and Gifted (TAG) school, Dodson Elementary.
Freeman presented his findings Tuesday to the Plymouth-Canton Board of Education after problems were brought to the board on Sept. 11 by Isbister Elementary parent Melissa Uhl, who reported missed pickups on the first two days of school, a kindergarten student being dropped off at the wrong bus stop, late pick-ups and drop-offs and a rotating door of substitute bus drivers in the first seven days of the school year.
Freeman cited the shortage of drivers as the underlying reason behind the busing inadequacies so far this year, with a turnover of 55 drivers in the past year, including 15 who left in the two weeks before school started. He said hiring for new drivers will continue throughout the school year.
Additionally, Freeman said, drivers face unpredictable driving each day because of students running late, traffic, construction and other variable factors.
Freeman said the district will factor the impact on transportation when creating new programs and activities.
Work remains for the district, however, Freeman said, including a thorough analysis of the district's transportation system compared with a similar-sized district. Freeman said in total, district buses transport 10,000 students a total of 1.75 million miles per school year.