The Pine Bush School District has gone outside for help to fill some of its uncovered school bus runs.
“After three days of having 12 runs uncovered, we reorganized,” Superintendent Timothy O. Mains said at last week’s Board of Education meeting.
The school district has recently executed emergency contracts with Orange County Transit to supplement the services provided by Birnie Bus Co., its principal transportation provider. Mains reported that Orange County Transit had been contracted for five runs last week to provide transportation to private and parochial schools and would add five additional runs this week for public school routes.
Last month, the district was forced to cancel school for two days because of a shortage of bus drivers that left Birnie Bus unable to complete a dozen bus runs. The district administrators revised the schedule that consolidated some bus runs and require some buses to drive two routes to the same school one after the other in order to compensate for routes currently uncovered. That meant changing the pickup and drop off times of nearly every student and longer school days for many students.
As of last week, Mains reported that Birnie had 60 applicants to fill bus driver positions and that he would be “more than pleased” if at least half of them could be hired.
“As soon as we can get sufficient coverage and backup, then we can move to original schedule,” Mains said.
The superintendent predicted that the district could be on the shortened schedules all through Thanksgiving, but wanted to see the impact of the additional drivers. Some bus routes will be adjusted starting this week. Students who were coming “super early,” will be adjusted back to their regular time.