Some Chicago Public Schools students will not have bus service to class on the first day of school as the district continues to grapple with a bus driver shortage.
Only about half of the driver positions needed to provide transportation to all students have been filled with three weeks to go until the first day of school Aug. 21, said Kimberly Jones, CPS’ executive director of student transportation services, in a letter to families Monday.
As a result, CPS will implement the system it approved last year due to the shortage, prioritizing bus service for students with disabilities and those who are housing insecure who have requested transportation, Jones said.
General education students in magnet or selective programs will not have transportation on the first day of school. CPS is providing free CTA Ventra cards valued at $35 a month for eligible students and a guardian for these students.
Students who qualify for priority transportation but who have accepted a $500 monthly stipend as an alternative to CPS-provided transport will also not have bus service, Jones said.
Families of students with disabilities and those in temporary living situations who have not requested transportation by Monday can still receive the monthly stipend, Jones said.
The district will work to provide bus services within the first two weeks of school to students who request transportation from now until the start of school, Jones said.
In 2021, the school district also struggled to provide transportation. Just days before the school year started, hundreds of parents received word there would be no buses for their children.
https://chicago.suntimes.com/education/2023/7/31/23815087/amid-driver-shortage-cps-to-prioritize-bus-service-for-students-with-disabilities-homeless-students Amid driver shortage, CPS to prioritize bus service for students with disabilities and homeless students.