How Do You Get To School?

Maisie Evans, Writer (pixel2013)

How Do You Get to School? 

There are many ways to get to school. Maybe you live close enough to walk, or maybe you get a ride from a parent or friend, or if you have a license, maybe you drive yourself. Of course, there’s another option: riding the bus. Many students depend on the school bus as a way to get to school on time. In fact, over 400 Helena High students take the bus. That’s almost forty percent of the student body. What if one morning, the bus didn’t come? Soon, this will be a reality for many students in the Helena School District.  

Starting on November 15th, students who take the bus will need to find their own means of transportation for one week out of each month. This is because the school district does not have enough bus drivers and has been unable to hire enough new bus drivers to drive all of the bus routes. According to Tom Cohn from the Helena Public Schools Transportation Department, we lack drivers for 15 out of the 68 routes.  

To find out when your route will be suspended, go to the Bus Route Suspension Schedule 2021-22.  

Before coming up with this plan, the district dealt with the driver shortage by doubling up some of the routes. However, this solution was not ideal because some kids were spending well over an hour on the bus.  

There is no end in sight for these route suspensions. According to the Helena Public School’s Route Suspension FAQ, “Rolling route suspensions are expected to be in place through the remainder of the 2021-22 school year. Suspensions will be reduced if the district is able to recruit additional drivers.” 

The school district plans to compensate families for this inconvenience. If a student rides the bus less than 8 times in a four-week period, they will get $50, and if they ride more than 8 times during a month, they will get $100 for that month. However, families will not be receiving the money on a monthly basis. Instead, the money will be sent out at the end of the school year.