ON PAUSE The Boys & Girls Club in Plano had to stop picking up students from eight Plano ISD schools. It currently serves 14 schools in the city. Removed schools Schools being served
driver shortage was not as bad this year, she said. However, districts such as PISD and FISD are looking at hiring slightlymore drivers for next year than they have in years past. One of the major challenges for attracting school bus drivers is the part-time, split work schedule, FISD Managing Director of Transportation Doug Becker said. Drivers typically drive a morning route and an after- noon route with a break in the middle of the day. As the economy improves and more people return to work in their respec- tive elds of expertise, there is a lot of competition in the workforce, said Steve Neill, PISD assistant director for transportation. “We meet the challenge by focus- ing on the rewards of the job,” Neill said via email. “For example, the split shift appeals to drivers who need time during the day. Interacting with stu- dents and families is also rewarding as well as having time o on the week- ends and summers.” PISD and FISD both have extra driv- ers on standby, according to sta from each district. Neill said PISD will com- bine routes when needed if there are not enough drivers available. Becker said when FISD is in need, oce sta and mechanics have to make the drives. While a shortage of drivers can cause buses to be late to stops, Neill said PISD tries to keep late buses from aecting the district’s schools when- ever possible. “At the most, we have a few routes that might run a few minutes late due to a route combination or even a [sub- stitute] driver situation,” Neill said. “These have always been minimal and not a daily recurring action.” He said PISD drivers help the dis- trict provide a safe, supportive and caring environment for students as well as help provide safe, economical
BOYS & GIRLS CLUB PLANO
SPRING CREEK PKWY.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 1 Barron 2 Memorial
MIDDLE SCHOOLS 5 Armstrong HIGH SCHOOLS 6 Clark
3 Jackson 4 Shepard
7 Williams 8 Shepton
DESIGNED BY CHELSEA PETERS COMPILED BY MIRANDA JAIMES
SOURCE: BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF COLLIN COUNTY COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
MAP NOT TO SCALE N
If the club gets more drivers and memberships pick back up, the club can resume services to those schools, she said. “Our focus is to serve more kids more often and allow the youth of Col- lin County access to the after-school resources and services that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County provides,” Radley said in her email. The clubs provide homework and college preparation help, which more students especially need after the pan- demic aected education, Radley said. One national study of 5 million stu- dents by the Northwest Evaluation Association projected the combination of a typical “summer slide” in learning and the disruption to schooling due to COVID-19 could cause regression for some students. “These kids that we’re talking about are already one to two years behind in education because of the pandemic,” Radley said. “When I think about those kids that we can’t pick up because we don’t have drivers, it’s quite tragic.” The school year is almost over, but the driver shortage could carry over to summer camp oerings too, Rad- ley said. The Boys & Girls Clubs need
drivers to take children to eld trips. Without drivers, those activities would have to be curtailed, she said. Retirees are often good ts for club drivers, Radley said, since they have the exibility to work the part-time, afternoon schedule. “We want them to have a happy and joyful disposition,” she said. “Our club kids are really good kids.” Having just seven more drivers for the Boys & Girls Clubs would make a signicant dierence, Radley said. “The fact that we don’t have driv- ers is something that a year ago, none of us would ever have thought about impacting our business, and it’s hav- ing an incredible impact,” she said. “It would be so much easier if we had these drivers.” School district needs The transportation needs don’t stop with the local nonprot. PISD is also looking to hire 30 to 40 more bus driv- ers and monitors for the next school year, said Rosemary Gladden, assistant director for communications. The pandemic has meant there are fewer students in school in person and going on eld trips in PISD, so the
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recreation opportunities for children ages 5-18. The Plano club is located on H Avenue not far from Stimpson and Drake Park. Drivers pick registered children up from their schools and drop them o at the clubs. For many students, this is the only way they have access to the club’s programs, Radley said. The clubs had to cut back student pick- ups for two reasons. The rst was that many bus drivers left as other com- panies began recruiting more during the COVID-19 pandemic. The second was that since the pandemic, student membership declined by about 62%, particularlywith its teens, Radley said. It is not feasible to send the clubs’ few drivers out to pick up only one or two students at schools, she said. The clubs currently have two bus drivers to divide between the three club locations in Collin County. About 22% of the clubs’ overall membership decline is attributed to no longer being able to pick up students at several school districts across the county, Rad- ley noted, not just PISD and Frisco ISD, which also covers part of Plano.
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