PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. - The start of every school year comes with growing pains, and one of the main ones this year is the nationwide shortage of school bus drivers.
It’s happening in the Valley too, and a few parents from the Paradise Valley Unified School District are upset about the location of their new bus stop.
Parents were notified that bus schedules and locations would change because of the driver shortage. On Aug. 9, the first day of school, parents were in for an alarming surprise.
Children were dropped off a little too close for comfort along busy Scottsdale Road. It happened again the following day.
A Paradise Valley school bus driver dropped off a handful of elementary school kids at 3 p.m. along the busy road with no crosswalk, just one sidewalk, and a 50 mph speed limit.
In previous years, students were dropped off inside the neighborhood, away from busy traffic. This year, the district considers entering gated communities to be too time-consuming and too dangerous.
Instead, students and parents are doing the navigating themselves, trying to solve this problem.
"We’re just hoping to get the attention of the district and work together and find some kind of common sense solution to the problem," said Rachel White, the mother of an eight-year-old.
The school district went on to say that changing bus stops will keep them from canceling routes. They say they're also consulting with law enforcement and that the safety of students and staff is their first priority.
There's no word yet if they plan to make any changes.
A statement sent to families within the district, reads, "PVSchools Community, Welcome back from the PVSchools Transportation Department! Thank you for your ongoing support of our Transportation Department as we continue to navigate the nationwide driver shortage together. We recognize that these shortages have caused stress and inconvenience. However, in PVSchools, we are confident that we can make it through these challenging times together. Over the past year, districts around the country and even here locally have canceled routes due to similar circumstances. PVSchools has chosen not to cancel routes and will continue to do so as long as possible. While we realize our efforts to keep bus routes will likely cause late arrivals and departures, our. Transportation staff remains committed to getting students where they need to be. However, the fact remains, we are currently staffed with only 53% of our driver staff. To fulfill our commitment to our community, the Transportation Department will have to consolidate or change several bus routes. This means bus routes will look different starting in the 2022-23 school year."