Administrators at Tuscaloosa City Schools are staggering start times this year to accommodate a shortage of bus drivers, a district spokesperson told CBS 42.
Elementary schools in the district (plus The Alberta School and Tuscaloosa Magnet Middle) will start at 7:55 a.m. each day. Middle schools will begin at 8:10. High schools and alternative schools will begin at 8:25. This will allow bus drivers to double up on routes so they can get all students to school on time. The routes will be subject to change during the first two weeks, as they work to figure out how many students are on each route.
Meanwhile, school leaders are trying to find more drivers to make up for the shortage. District coordinator of public relations Lesley Bruinton says the district is short 16 drivers, and they’re offering incentives to try to attract new ones.
Speaking of school buses, it’s probably been a while since you’ve encountered them. If you need a refresher on the laws related to stopped buses, the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office made Facebook posts about the law and what to watch for.
Students returned to class Wednesday, and district leaders worked with the Tusclaoosa mayor’s office and police department to make sure an officer was present in every school on the first day. Some schools had school resource officers, others had contract officers. District superintendent Dr. Michael Daria said the mayor and police chief arranged to have every school covered at the end of last school year, and the district will continue working with them to continue that going forward.
“The safety of our students is an absolute priority,” Daria said. “Education is our purpose, but safety is and will remain the priority for this community and this school system.”
Students at Arcadia Elementary walked in to a new school Monday morning. The rebuilt facility features an updated technology package for each classroom including throw projectors and audio enhancements. Daria says the new facility is a perfect example of what they want to provide for schools in the district.
“When you look at buildings like Arcadia and the others that are being renovated or the new construction, these are first-class facilities, again, because our students deserve the best, and they’re getting the best,” he said.
He hopes the new technology will give teachers the chance to re-imagine the way students learn.