OPS: 3,000 students impacted by "busing crisis"

Posted at 4:38 PM, Sep 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-08 19:35:19-04

In documents obtained by KMTV, one OPS administrator called the driver shortage a "busing crisis."  Now three weeks into the school year there is still a shortage of bus drivers and kids who are either late getting picked up or dropped off or some who were left behind all together.

OPS and Student Transportation of America said last week things should've been close to normal in terms of pickup times, but students continue to be stuck without buses.

In an open records request sent to the Omaha Public School District, KMTV has been able to uncover how many students and school are impacted by the crisis.

In a survey of 36 principals, 78% of them said a bus was more than 15 minutes late picking up kids after the first day of school, and 50% of them said a bus was more than 15 minutes late in the morning.

At least 118 buses were late in the morning and afternoon, or didn't show up at all on the first day of school.
An email sent by OPS Transportation Director Trevis Sallis three days after school started states almost 3,000 students were impacted by the driver shortfall.

In total, 66 completed and individual open routes had no drivers and 15 doubled routes scheduled to arrive to school late.  That didn't include late runs for drivers unfamiliar with their routes, or mechanical issues.

Jennifer Snow's son is a 7th grader at King Science Center who, like many, didn't have a ride to school to start the year.  Even this morning (9/8), she says her son's bus never showed up to take him to class.

"I'm frustrated as a parent and a working parent that we all pay tax dollars for this benefit and the ball's been dropped numerous places.  I think somebody needs to step up and take responsibility for it," Snow explained.

OPS and STA say they've been working to fix the problems and inform parents.

Superintendent Mark Evens told the school board that they're getting help from similar sized school districts in Texas, Colorado, and California to help figure out their problems.