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Bullitt Co. Schools offer child care when bus routes are canceled

A school bus against a blue sky.
Thomas Park on Unsplash
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Bullitt County Public Schools is now offering free child care before and after school for families whose bus routes have been canceled.

Like many school districts these days, Bullitt County is grappling with a bus driver shortage. It means that every day, the district has to cancel between three and eight routes when drivers are sick and there are no substitutes, according to BCPS Superintendent Jesse Bacon.

That leaves many families on their own to find school transportation.

Starting this week, when BCPS families get the notification of a canceled route, they’ll also be able to sign up for free care before and after school, provided in partnership with the YMCA.

YMCA staff will provide child care at the district’s 13 elementary schools starting at 6 a.m. and as late as 6 p.m. The service is only available for elementary school students whose routes have been canceled.

Bacon said the goal is to make it easier for parents to drop off and pick up students around their work schedules.

“We know that this disruption is difficult on our families, and so for us it’s trying to find a way to service them as best we can,” Bacon said.

The district has been struggling to recruit and retain bus drivers in Bullitt County, where Bacon says the school system is competing with private sector employees like Amazon and UPS, who pay more.

The district increased pay for all BCPS employees last year, but Bacon said they need at least 12 to 15 more drivers, plus substitutes, to keep routes fully staffed.

“We’re just going to have to continue to look for creative ways to try and bridge that gap until we can get to a point where more folks are willing to become bus drivers,” he said.

Families will receive a link to sign up for the service when they are notified of a route cancellation.

Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.