RTS may play role in helping Rochester City School District with bus driver shortage

[anvplayer video=”5054193″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Teachers in the Rochester City School District say Zoom learning this fall is not an option.

The district’s Board of Education will host another emergency board meeting Sunday evening in an effort to end their crisis over staffing issues. News10NBC spoke with one teacher in the city who says they’re fighting for staffing and hope combined resources can get students bused to a desk rather than sitting behind a screen at home again.

"When we’re talking about the budget crisis and fighting for our staffing, it’s not just teachers that we’re talking about. We’re talking about those bus drivers, the paraprofessionals, the teachers’ aides and more,” Edison Tech social studies teacher Rakia Hardaway said.

As a social studies teacher, Hardaway says she can navigate any map. When it comes to proper staffing – especially on busing – navigating the new school year is not so easy.

"They need to be hired, and unfortunately the district has not supplied our bus drivers with all the things that they need.”

Rochester City School District Superintendent Dr. Leslie Myers-Small announced an emergency meeting that will take place Sunday to figure out how the district can work with community partners to try to arrange busing for all city students grades K-12 to learn in person.

"Some of my former students in the Rochester City School District have personally reached out to me and asked me what will it take to be a bus driver.”

Other staff members around the district say they fear a delayed start date may be one of the outcomes of the bus driver shortage.

"I fear that – if we have a delayed start for too long – we will lose more bus drivers to other districts,” Kyle Crandall told us. Crandall serves as the registrar for East High School.

Teachers say they hope a deal can be made between the district and partner agencies to make busing possible for all of the district’s students in grades K-12.

"I’ve never met some of my students I’ve only seen them via Zoom; it’s just heartbreaking to think that we’re subjecting them to another barrier,” Hardaway added.

The RCSD Board of Education emergency work session will take place via Zoom Sunday at 6:30 p.m. to discuss updates related to district transportation and the school bus driver shortage. The meeting will be live-streamed via the RCSD’s Facebook and YouTube pages, and on the district’s website.

RTS may play a role in helping the Rochester City School District with its bus driver shortage. Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA) commissioners will hold a special board meeting at 12 p.m. Tuesday to consider "temporary changes to the RTS transit system to help the Rochester City School District overcome its bus driver shortage crisis," according to a RGRTA communication issued to media outlets Sunday afternoon.

RGRTA directs public transportation services for Monroe County with Regional Transit Service (RTS) as well as six other counties: , Wayne, Seneca, Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming.