Since my planning period (preparation period with no students in the classroom) happens to be the last class of the day, I am automatically assigned to afternoon bus duty. For most of the school year, there were usually only one or two late buses at my school on any given day. On days with bad weather, perhaps that number would jump to four or five buses.
However, in the past few weeks, these numbers have drastically changed. Of the seventeen buses that service my middle school, only four to eight are on time any given day. Some buses consistently arrive at 4:30 pm, a full 40 minutes after school has ended. In fact, one bus’s new schedule is it to arrive at 4:05 pm (already fifteen minutes after school has ended), run its route, and then come back at around 4:30 pm to run another route.
Why this dramatic change? Of course sick drivers and the weather can impact timeliness. However, two of theh staff members at my school have told me that it is because of the number of bus drivers who have recently quit. [Editor’s Note: A staff member at the Department of Transportation confirmed in a phone conversation on June 1 that they are understaffed and in need of bus drivers.]
The morning routes have not suffered nearly as much. But the afternoon routes are running extremely late. Because of this, teachers are required to supervise students past their contractual hours. The students are supposed to be dismissed at 3:50 pm and our contract ends at 4:00 pm. The schedule below shows what happens.
A Rainy Day – May 27th
3:46 – Afternoon announcements of the PA begin.
3:48 – Afternoon announcements end and car riders are dismissed.
3:50 – The students who ride the seven buses currently present are dismissed.
3:51 – Bell rings
3:54 – Last call for students of those six buses.
3:55 – Buses leave.
3:56 – The eighth bus arrives and the students who ride it are dismissed.
3:58 – The ninth and tenth buses arrive and the students who ride them are dismissed.
4:02 – Students who ride the seven buses who have yet to arrive are dismissed to wait in front of the school. Some of them wait until 4:30.