BOSTON – With BPS returning to in-person learning next week, City Councilor and Mayoral candidate Andrea Campbell urged Acting Mayor Janey to communicate with parents this weekend if they should plan for alternate transportation for their kids.
“Many parents are already worried about returning to school safely due to COVID-19. Worrying about whether or not their kids will be stranded on a sidewalk somewhere is no way to begin the school year,” said Campbell. “This Administration has had all summer to establish transportation plans and communicate this information to parents well ahead of the first day of school next week.”
Yesterday, Acting Mayor Janey and BPS announced that they are facing an acute bus driver shortage, with some 40 to 60 drivers that still need to be hired, prompting BPS to warn parents that “some students will likely be picked up late or not at all.”
BPS has the highest per-pupil spending on transportation in the country, according to the district’s own analysis. The busing system normally costs more than $130 million per year, and has long struggled to get kids to school on time – particularly at the start of the school year.
“It is unacceptable that the District and the Administration is in the process of determining the potential impact of these challenges for students less than a week before school reopens,” Campbell added. “After the immense challenges of the past school year, parents deserve better. With a $130 million transportation budget, there’s no reason we can’t ensure every student has access to safe and reliable bus service.”
Councilor Campbell has been a consistent voice in calling for BPS to prepare proactively for this coming school year, particularly in regard to safety from COVID-19. She has repeatedly called for the city to make critical building safety investments before the start of the school year, and for the City to implement a robust testing program for all students. Yesterday, BPS announced that less than 25% of students had opted into pooled testing so far.