A shortage of bus drivers may mean some Centre students have to spend a total of 1 hour 10 minutes or more on buses each day this fall.
Covering 250 square miles with just three routes might be possible but would result in the increased ride time, Centre transportation director Bob Mueller told the school board Monday.
Mueller said he had received no response for a campaign to find new drivers. Without new drivers, the district will have only him and two regular route bus drivers to transport students.
He said he hoped to restructure routes to reduce them from four to three but a lot depends on where families moving into the district are located when school starts.
He asked that the board purchase a 14-passenger mini-bus for $19,000 to pick up students living in the Burdick and Lost Springs area. The bus also would transport pre-kindergarten students home.
Board members were hesitant to approve the purchase because the bus he recommended has almost 80,000 miles on it. However, Mueller said it would be the only option to get more transportation in time for the start of school. A new mini-bus would cost $50,000 and wouldn’t be available until at least mid-September, he said.
The board asked Mueller to get more information. Superintendent Susan Beeson said the board could schedule a special meeting to make a decision.
The board took many other required actions for the new school year, including designating Marion County Record as the official newspaper and Cottonwood Valley Bank in Lincolnville and Tampa State Bank in Tampa as official depositories of district funds.