Frisco May 2021

ON PAUSE The Boys & Girls Club in Frisco had to stop picking up students from 15 Frisco ISD schools. It currently serves 17 schools. Removed schools Schools being served

Frisco ISDneeds The transportation needs do not stop with the local nonpro ! t. Frisco ISD is also looking to hire 50 to 60more bus drivers and monitors for the next school year, Becker said. The pandemic has meant fewer stu- dents in school in person at the district, so the driver shortage was not as bad this year, he said. However, the district is looking at hiringmore drivers for next year than it has in years past. One of the major challenges for attracting school bus drivers is the part- time, split work schedule, Becker said. Drivers typically drive a morning route and an afternoon route with a break in the middle of the day. A thriving economymakes it di " cult to attract and retaindrivers because pri- vate companies can o # er more hours and higher pay, Becker said. “With our current environment, it seems we’re kind of slowing down, and it’s a pace that concerns us,” said Roger Lents, assistant director of transporta- tion for FISD. FISD has extra drivers on standby, Becker said. But if the number of standby drivers does notmeet the route needs, then o " ce sta # and mechanics have tomake the drives, he said. “That’s where it gets critical because all of our o " ce mechanics have jobs they have to do during the day,” Becker said. “When you drive a bus route that takes ! ve or six hours out of your day … that pushes the district into an over- time situation. We want to avoid that as much as possible.” Substitute drivers unfamiliar with where to gomay have to pause to check the route, he said. Having drivers dou- ble up on routes may also result in delays, he said. “We de ! nitelywant to avoid the situ- ation where kids wouldn’t be picked up at all,” Becker said. Lents, who started as a driver for the district, said it is a good job for people

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drivers out to pick up only one or two students at these 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 at several schools across the county, not just FISD, Radley said. If the club gets more drivers and memberships pick back up, the club can resume services to those schools it had to stop picking up from, 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 a # ected 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 o # erings 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 signi ! cant di # erence, 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.”

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available also has a # ected the growth of our organization, as we are unable to accessmore areas,” Boys &Girls Club CEOMarianne Radley said in an email. Stoppingservices Boys & Girls Clubs run an after- school program with character and leadership development, life skills and recreation opportunities for children ages 5-18. The Frisco club is located on McKinney Road near Frisco Commons park. Drivers for the clubs would pick reg- istered 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 programs the clubs provide, Radley said. The clubs had to cut back student pickups for two reasons. The ! rst was that many bus drivers left the club 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%, particularly with its teens, Radley said. It is not feasible to send the clubs’ few

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