SPS parents react to upcoming bus changes

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Some parents of Springfield Public Schools students are getting prepared for next week when their students will lose a ride to school.

Starting Monday, the district said nearly 1,500 students who live close to school buildings will no longer be able to ride on a school bus, due to bus driver shortages.

In a release, the district said, “Elementary and K-8 school students must live 2 miles or more from school, and middle and high school students must live 2.5 miles or more from school to be eligible to ride the bus for the foreseeable future.”

Concerned parent, Sara Turner, said she’s a single mom of three kids.

Turner said she lives 1.8 miles away from her children’s school building, making her kids ineligible soon to get on the bus.”Everybody’s just kind of at a loss right now,” Turner said.

She said two of her kids are in second and fourth grade and take the bus so she can get to work on time.”It’s kinda at a point where I’m gonna have to choose my job or getting my kids to school because I can’t let them walk two miles at their age to school in the winter,” Turner said.

SPS Chief Communications Officer, Stephen Hall said parents are reaching out with concerns, but they’re trying to provide resources.

“We probably had 100 different families that reached out to the voicemail hotline,” Hall said. “Our goal was that families felt valued and that they felt like their concerns were listened to and they had individual follow up from the district.”

Turner said the solutions the district is providing, including providing free city bus passes and encouraging carpooling, aren’t working.

“I have reached out to a few people in our neighborhood,” Turner said. “The issue that we’re running into is most of them also have to be at work, their kids were bus riders. One, I have never seen a city bus pass in my neighborhood. Two, I don’t feel comfortable putting my eight and 10-year-old on a city bus. I just feel like it’s too dangerous by themselves.”

Hall said after the bus change announcement, the district is seeing more bus driver applications coming through the door.

“Our promise to families is that bus service will be restored as soon as it is feasible,” Hall said.

Until then, Turner said she and many others will have to find some sort of solution this week.

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