Beginning Monday, the Seattle Public Schools is suspending 142 school bus routes. The cuts are necessary because of a national bus driver shortage and because some drivers are declining the state-mandated coronavirus vaccine for public employees, district officials say.
Out of the 18,000 students who are eligible for bus rides, about 6,740 could be affected by the bus route cuts, district spokesperson Tim Robinson said.
The 142 bus routes that are being cut will not affect students in special education classes; students with Individualized Education Programs; or 504 plans that include public transportation services, students experiencing homelessness and foster students. Schools at interim sites or those that serve “high proportions of historically underserved students” won’t be affected either, according to an email sent to parents Friday afternoon.
One week ago, in an email to parents warning of the impending cuts, the district said “it is possible that the remaining drivers may only be able to cover one third of the general education routes we currently run.”
Seattle schools does not know how many students will be affected by route shortages because the number of students who ride the bus fluctuates every day, Robinson said. There are 18,000 students in the district who are eligible for transportation services, and it’s estimated about half of those students ride the bus.
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