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Some JeffCo parents scramble ahead of indefinite school bus route suspensions

School bus stop warning sign in Morrison
Posted at 5:05 PM, Oct 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-03 21:09:20-04

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- Some parents in Jefferson County are struggling to make sure they get their kids to and from school this week.

JeffCo Public Schools announced it was indefinitely suspending nearly 30 bus routes because it doesn't have enough drivers.

"We're just all kind of scrambling," parent Zachary Bursnall said.

His 16-year-old son, Joseph, attends Conifer High School, which is on the list of routes in the north and west part of the district affected by the shortage.

He'll be able to drop Joseph off at school, but picking him up is a bit more complicated because he's a business owner.

"My neighbor's got an 18-year-old son that just graduated high school, so we have to ask them to pick my son up because I can't close my shop," Bursnall said.

Another solution some parents are testing is carpooling, especially for those who can't leave work to pick up their child.

"[My employer] is allowing me to leave work early so that I can get my kiddos, and I'm going to help out a couple of other families as well," parent Heather Lauria said.

Her kids attend D'Evelyn Junior-Senior High School. Starting Monday, it'll be one of at least nine option schools without any bus service.

"That's hard for the kids, too, not knowing what's going to happen on any given day," she said. "Before, they knew that they would take the bus. They'd walk home. Now, it's like, 'Oh, gosh, who's going to pick us up? What do we do?'"

Neither knows when the district will hire enough drivers to get their routes back in service. The district said it will notify parents if they can't do so by December. As of Thursday, the district was down 81 drivers.

Lauria and Bursnall worry this may be a long-term problem.

"The losers in all of this are the kids, and that's sad," Lauria said.

"With so many jobs open and just not enough spots to fill it, it's very difficult right now to try and get people," Bursnall added.

If you'd like to learn more about becoming a bus driver for JeffCo Public Schools, click here.