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KOAA Survey: How do you get your kids to school?

Posted at 11:15 AM, Oct 10, 2022

News 5 has looked into the new rideshare program that Colorado Springs School District 11 has recently added due to a bus driver shortags.

We'd like to know, how do you get your kids to school?

We're following this survey throughout the day and into tomorrow. Tune in to News5 at 4 p.m. as we review the results!

Editor's note: This survey is not based on scientific, representative samples and is solely for KOAA purposes.

School is back in session, but the bus driver shortage continues to be an issue.

Colorado Springs School District 11 is hiring a third-party rideshare service called HopSkipDrive to help get kids to school. The company uses "CareDrivers" who drive their personal vehicles to transport children.

Devra Ashby, the communications officer for District 11, said they first hired the company in September after experiencing delayed bus routes. Some of the delays came from buses needing to pick up one or two kids farther from the majority of the route. She also said some bus routes only pick up a couple of children along the way, creating inefficiency when buses are operating with empty seats. Ashby said the district is assigning HopSkipDrive rides to children in those cases to let the limited number of bus drivers focus on larger routes.

"This takes a lot of pressure off of our transportation drivers in District 11 so that they can provide those massive routes or a bit larger routes, rather than having to transport one student from the north to the south," Ashby said.

She said some of those children fall under the McKinney-Vento Actdue to either low income or special needs. Under the law, school districts are required to provide transportation for those specific students to and from school.

Ashby said several families have been notified that their children were reassigned to a HopSkipDrive car, giving parents around two days' notice. She said if parents are not on board with their children being reassigned, they can be reimbursed 50 cents per mile that they have to travel to get their child to school.

"It's not a secret that there have been bus driver shortages across the country. We're talking about a 60-year-old transportation system and we have to start thinking differently when we're talking about transporting our students, keeping them safe on the way to school and on the way home," said Ashby.

Falcon District 49, Denver Public Schools, Boulder Valley School District, Jefferson County Public Schools, and Aurora Public Schools also use the service in the state of Colorado.

CareDrivers for HopSkipDrive have to pass a 15-point certification process. Steps to complete this process include being a caregiver for at least five years prior, passing several background checks, being at least 23 years old, having a good driving record, and owning a vehicle with four doors that is less than 10 years old.

Nationwide, 88% of schools are dealing with a bus driver shortage. District 11, Academy District 20 and Falcon District 49 need bus drivers in El Paso County. They have offered more incentives, including sign-on bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $2,500.

The bus driver shortage has been a result of many people quitting, retiring, or finding a new job during the pandemic. Some of these new jobs include in-person interaction, or jobs that pay better.

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