Transportation Committee

Douglas County School System to Form Transportation Committee
Posted on 11/01/2019

Dear Parents and Members of the Community,

In almost every way, the start for the 2019-2020 school year was exceptional. Teachers had five full days to prepare for the new school year, teachers new to the county had additional days to become acclimated to the technology and procedures in Douglas County, and many of our school office staff worked all summer to prepare for the start of the year. We were ready for the first day of school! Morale remains high, and we are on our way to making great gains in academics, athletics, and the arts.

One area that continues to be a challenge for our school system is bus transportation. Across the nation, school districts are experiencing a shortage of bus drivers, and Douglas County is no exception. Despite intense recruitment efforts, an increase in pay, free CDL training, and six weeks of pay during training, we still have many open positions for bus drivers. When drivers call in sick, the shortage is exacerbated. We already have office workers and mechanics who are called on to drive almost every day. Because each month we have more drivers leave than we are able to hire, we don’t anticipate the shortage getting better any time soon.

With the shortage of bus drivers, many students are arriving late to school and missing class, and they are arriving home late in the afternoon. The pick-up and drop-off times are inconsistent, which understandably leads to frustration from parents. It is time to look at alternative ways to address our challenges.

As a first step toward solving our transportation problem, Assistant Superintendent of Operations Kwame Carr and Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Pam Nail will form a transportation committee that will begin meeting in January, 2020. The committee will be comprised of principals, transportation department employees, central office personnel, and parents. The purpose of the committee will be to explore alternative ways to more efficiently transport the 15,000 students who ride our buses daily.

Our goal is to transport children safely and efficiently, and changes are inevitable. Over the years, the student population in Douglas County has increased steadily, but we still have a “small town” approach to our transportation service, and many parents expect stops at every home. We hope that through a committee approach, we can come up with a solution that will be both palatable to our parents and practical for our school system, which is now the 17th largest in Georgia.

I invite parents to apply to serve on the transportation committee. The first meeting will take place in early January, and I anticipate holding four meetings between January and March. If you would like to apply, please fill out the application at: https://tinyurl.com/yxf7dorf. Parents who are selected will be notified by December 15, 2019.

I want to end by saying how much I appreciate the parents who have been patient with our transportation challenges this year. Getting our children to and from school on time each day is of great importance, and we will work diligently toward this goal for the 2020-2021 school year.

Sincerely,

Trent North, Superintendent

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