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TUSD Board works to get more bus drivers

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Posted at 5:52 PM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 20:52:27-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — As many school districts grapple with staffing shortages, the Tucson Unified School District has had to make some adjustments when it comes to their bus routes.

Several bus stop hubs have been set up across the district to allow drivers to adjust routes.

For some parents, those hubs can even be further then dropping of their child off at school.

“We were compensating parents for driving their own children to school,” Adelita Grijalva, TUSD Board President said.

During TUSD’s Governing Board Meeting on Tuesday they addressed the driver shortage. Trujillo says they are working to get better locations for their bus stop hubs next school year. They’re also hoping to get more drivers behind the wheel.

“Making those positions full time and benefits eligible,” Dr. Gabriel Trujillo, TUSD Superintendent said. “I think is going to take care of the challenges that we are seeing with applicant shortages.”

Besides a lack of drivers, drop off times for different school ages have also impacted parents.

“But again, it has this ripple effect,” Grijalva said. “When can I go to work if I have to be there at 8:00 but my child's school doesn't start until 8:15 and I can't drop them off any earlier.”

“Every time that we have students and families that are eligible for transportation services, that opt out, for whatever reason,” Trujillo said. “That frees up drivers and that could put drivers back into neighborhoods.”

The district is also working to offer existing staff pay for working longer hours. Even so, school leaders say their transportation troubles may not be over.

“It did create unfortunately a ripple effect that will still be an issue next year,” Grijalva said.

The district is asking parents to let them know if their student will use the bus system next year. They are hoping with more drivers and more efficient routes they can ease any complications.

Denelle Veselik is an anchor and investigative reporter for KGUN 9. It's been her dream to tell your stories for the past decade. She is extremely curious and wants to continue to use her storytelling for the greater good. Share your story ideas and important issues with Denelle by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram and X/Twitter.