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BPS sends survey to parents asking if they'd consider opting out of bus services for 2022-2023 school year

Instead, the district is trying to gauge how many parents would be open to being reimbursed 58.5 cents/mile.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Last year a bus driver shortage only created headaches for BPS students and parents. 

"Often the times the bus was 20 or 30 minutes late for pickup or drop-off. There were sometimes when the bus wouldn't come at all," said Duncan Kirkwood, a Buffalo Public Schools parent. 

Sean Paulson says after the first month of school, the state started paying his family roughly $300 a month to take his son Marcus to school. 

"It was more hindering us because here I am, I have to take time out of my day from work to go drop him off," Paulson said. "I mean, no offense, I'm getting paid more at work."

With a bus driver shortage continuing into the 2022-2023 school year, BPS is now sending a survey to parents.

It's only six questions, and it asks them if they would consider opting out of bus transportation services. If parents opt out, they would be reimbursed 58.5 cents per mile. 

Some are giving praise to newly appointed superintendent Dr. Tonja Williams.

"She kept an open mind to finding a solution to a problem that is a consistent problem, that's number one. And number two, instead of just imposing a solution, she's asking a community. I mean, that's leadership," Kirkwood said. 

Others question if it's really the solution for everyone. 

"What about the families that don't have transportation? If they don't have transportation and don't have a reliable bus, their child can't go to school that day," Paulson said. 

"The transportation is a big issues and will cause many problems for families within BPS," said Eve Shippens, co-chair of the Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization. "However, I do think that the district does have to look into any alternatives possible."

Shippens it's especially important the district come up with creative solutions because kids can't miss essential class time. 

She says paying parents to take their kids to school.. could really open up seats for more kids in families who don't own a car.  

"I think that it will lessen the problem but of course this is going to be a problem the district struggles with for awhile," Shippens said. 

You can take the survey here. 

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