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Mom applies to be school bus driver after routes cancelled

By KPTV Staff

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    PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — Families of some Portland students find themselves in a tough spot wondering how they’re going to get their kids to school Monday morning.

In an email to parents on Friday, Portland Public Schools announced that they canceled 13 bus routes to Benson and Lincoln High schools and 16 routes with different pickup or drop-off times for the foreseeable future.

“They basically just said figure it out,” Jessica Clark said.

Clark is the mom of a Lincoln High sophomore, says with her job, there’s no way she can take her son to school at a reasonable time. They live too far for him to walk or take public transit. So as of right now, he won’t be going to school.

“Yes, they’re looking at solutions, but how long is it going to be before these students are transported to school again,” Jessica Clark said. “They’re making catastrophic decisions for students’ academic success without any follow-through or alternative, and that’s where the problem lies.”

PPS says it will have more information for families this coming week to help them, and the email outlines some of the things they’re working on including:

Reducing the number of big bus routes Using other contracted smaller vehicles Talking with business and state officials to get drivers Offering financial support to families whose routes are canceled And figuring out a system to coordinate family carpools

Meantime another Lincoln mom Denise Archer said her son doesn’t rely on the bus to get to school, but she knows so many other kids do. So, she felt called to help herself and applied to be a bus driver.

“There’s no other alternative to me. It’s like let’s get our babies to school, that’s it.” Archer said. “I don’t know how it’s gonna fit into my schedule, but it’s just for nine months I’ll make it work.”

She doesn’t work full-time and asked in her application to be a driver part-time. She hopes that any other parents who might be in the same boat can help too.

“This is one thing we can do. We’ll learn how to drive a bus; come on, guys,” Archer said.

Other states turn to the national guard for help driving busses.

FOX 12 asked the department of education about that possibility here or any other options. They sent the following statement:

“All options are being considered to support full-time, in-person instruction. Currently, Oregon’s National Guard members are supporting the extreme need seen in our hospitals and public health system. Federal emergency relief funds are available to offer incentives to hire school bus drivers. I encourage school districts to utilize these emergency funds for that purpose.”

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