Buffalo Schools considers reimbursing parents to drive kids to school

District sending survey as bus driver shortage continues
Buffalo Public Schools are considering proposing a plan to help deal with the bus driver shortage. The district may propose reimbursing parents who drive their children to school during the upcoming school year.
File Photo credit WBEN Photo

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Buffalo Public Schools are considering proposing a plan to help deal with the bus driver shortage. The district may propose reimbursing parents who drive their children to school during the upcoming school year.

Sam Radford of We The Parents likes the idea. In fact, he says he presented it to then-Superintendent Kriner Cash, who didn't consider it at all. "With a bus driver shortage, obviously, the concern is that for all of last year, we were leaving kids at the bus stop every day. And so what this does is gives us the possibility of ensuring that we pick up every child every day," explains Radford. His biggest concern is the district doesn't have the capacity to transport all the kids and get them school every day on time.

Radford says this could be helpful when the weather turns worse. "In Buffalo winters, we've got kids going out to the bus stop standing there on the corner, and a bus never comes," says Radford. He notes Buffalo is the nation's third poorest city.

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Buffalo School Board member Larry Scott says he and others were skeptical about the possible proposal to reimburse parents 58.5 cents per mile for driving their kids to school instead of having them take the bus. "We're skeptical that it would truly have an impact on improving our situation with transportation," says Scott. He says he has some questions to be answered. "Do we know how many parents are currently providing transportation on their own? And then how many more would provide transportation have the means to provide that transportation, if in fact, they were to receive an incentive?" wonders Scott. He says with the driver shortage, he is willing, however to keep an open mind on innovative ideas.

Scott says the district is trying to ensure that decision making is equitable and fair. "We need to make sure that in any type of incentive system that we're providing, that we are, if we consider it that we are providing it to those that need it most, and where it's going to make the difference," says Scott.

The district is urging parents to fill out the survey. BPS will hold a news conference Friday at noon.