BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Parents of Bay District School students have an important deadline approaching.
Children in the Bay District school system must be signed up on the school website for a bus route by July 21.
Executive Director of Operational Support Services Josh Balkom said the easiest way to opt in is to create an account.
“Not only will you be able to opt in for transportation, but it’s also wonderful for all the information involving your child,” Balkom said.
The district only has 96 bus drivers for 105 bus routes and they may condense the bus routes due to a shortage of bus drivers.
“In the past we would simply run a bus through a neighborhood. We know that about 35% or so of students ride the bus,” said Transportation Director, Michael Carter.
While parents must opt in for bus rides, students who live within two miles of their school might not be eligible.
“Just because you go in and ask for transportation, it doesn’t mean necessarily that you’re going to get transportation if you’re not eligible,” Carter said.
Bay district schools typically give courtesy rides to students that live within two miles of their school, but that could end soon because of the lack of bus drivers.
“We just don’t have the staff you know to run those buses in and out of the neighborhood. So we’re going to, and that’s enough reason we’re doing the opt-in, for efficiency right,” Carter said.
However, a bus route will be provided for students that have to cross highways or dangerous roads to get to school.
“If there’s a lot of traffic, or it’s multi-lane, and there’s no traffic control device or crossing guard then that’s considered hazardous right. In other words, we don’t want those students to walk across those roads,” said Carter.
If the district does remove the 25 to 30 courtesy routes It could affect between 500 to 700 students throughout the district.