Jackson parent frustrated with canceled school bus routes

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — The nationwide bus driver shortage is affecting bus routes in Northwest Community Schools, leaving kids without a bus to go to and from school.

Amber Ellsworth has a first grader that’s in the Northwest Community School district. Starting tomorrow, she’s going to be taking him to school and it’s something she just learned about yesterday.

“It’s just very frustrating,” said Ellsworth.

That’s how Ellsworth felt when she received a letter telling her, her first-grader will no longer be able to ride the bus to school starting Monday.
“We are forced to become a parent pick up and drop off with hardly any notice,” she said.

Officials with the school district say they were notified Friday by Dean Transportation. Two bus routes no longer have drivers, and they’re working to find a solution.

“They aren’t saying we’ll comp you 59.7 cents per mile to or from school. They’re not providing any sort of help guidance nothing at all. It’s just sorry as of Monday you can no longer ride your bus. I pay the same taxes that everybody else does and it’s a public school,” said Ellesworth.

She says her son enjoyed riding the bus, and this changes his everyday routine.

“He’s pretty disappointed. I mean the bus is really fun and exciting when you’re that age, so he loves riding it. Just riding the bus to and from school has been part of that routine so things are already being shaken up for him,” she said.

The mother of two says she fears it could affect her job.

“I won’t be able to do my morning job now because I will have to drive him to and from. I also have a 3-year old that I have to take care of, so I also have to drag her along to and from school all day every day. It might end up me losing me my job because I have too many cancellations if I can’t fulfill my commitments,” she said.

School officials say that elementary, middle, and high school students on the alligator and dolphin buses will be put on a waitlist. In the meantime, parents and guardians will have to take them to school.

“They just need to be more organized because parents need to plan in advance and this is just really frustrating to just throw a wrench into all of our plans and to make things so unfair for the kids,” she said.

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