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Paso Robles school district re-evaluates bus service

Posted at 6:27 PM, Feb 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-13 21:50:21-05
Paso Robles Joint Unified School District re-evaluates busing services

The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District is looking at different ways to cut back their busing services.

While reducing services will save the district money, school officials say they simply do not have enough drivers to fulfill the high demand.

"I know the district has gone through a difficult time recently with some budget issues and we are continuing to do that, having to make reductions, but the main reason why we are bringing these proposals forward is the lack of qualified drivers," said Brad Pawlowski, Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Chief Business Officer.

Due to the shortage, the district says they can not continue to serve the number of current routes.

The district will continue providing transportation for special need students, but they are looking at reducing their general education busing services.

"I think it would be a lot more tedious for families that live further away from the schools and live in rural areas," said Austin Williams, a student at Liberty High School.

Currently, the district has about 12 bus routes but is considering scaling back their operation in several ways to address the issue.

One option the district is contemplating is eliminating general education transportation altogether.

The second option would be to reduce the current 12 routes down to just three, but this would lead to some students not being able to take advantage of the restricted service.

"I take the bus to San Miguel almost every day. It helps me because my parents can't always pick me up in town," said Bailey Montgomery, a student at Liberty High School.

The district is also considering setting up a port system in which parents could drop off their kids at one of the district's outer schools to then be taken to the high school.

One thing is certain and that is that change is on the way.

Pawlowski says the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District is not the only district facing the shortage of qualified drivers and that it is a nationwide issue.

The school district is looking to make a decision on the busing service as soon as possible with the changes taking effect in the next academic school year.