Rideout Elementary student addresses Clay County school board about school bus delays, no-shows

Zoey Fields

A sixth-grader from Rideout Elementary school addressed the Clay County school district’s school board Thursday night about his school bus picking him up more than an hour late, or sometimes not at all.

The 11-year-old told board members that the “bus situation” that has been going on for the past year is “really stressing him out.”

“There was one week where the bus was an hour and a half late every day,” the Rideout Elementary School student told board members.

The 11-year-old Rideout Elementary student explained the current issues he faces due to Clay County District Schools transportation.Photo byClay County District Schools School Board Youtube

He went on to retell a story about one particular Thursday when he had a math test to take. Noting that the bus never came to pick him up and he was “really surprised.”

In addition to the long wait times, the sixth-grader explained that oftentimes while waiting for the bus he is cold, or afraid of the cars leaving and entering his neighborhood.

“In my neighborhood, it is like 15 miles per hour [speed limit], but some people are going 20 or 25 and, like, swerving and I am afraid, you know?” he said to the board.

After leaving the podium, school board member Ashley Gilhousen said she thinks “we could use a young man like that in our recruitment videos for our need for bus drivers,” she said.

Clay County District Schools announced in August 2022, before the start of the school year, that they were facing a school bus driver shortage and, due to this, expected delays in student pick-up and arrival times.

By late August, the district announced that they had several drivers in training and would be able to eliminate several “double-back” routes because of the new hires.

A double-back route is when a driver is assigned one route and, once they are complete, they circle back for a second route of dropping students off.

A double-back route impacts the time students will get picked up from the bus stop, as well as when they leave school for the day, according to whyy.org.

The district requires drivers to complete a paid Commercial Driver Training process which has been expedited to help with the onboarding of new staff, while still meeting state and federal training requirements, Dennis said.

Those interested in working as a bus driver for Clay County District Schools should call the recruitment line at 904-336-0075 or email at driveclay@myoneclay.net.

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Accredited journalist with experience covering a wide range of stories consisting of breaking news, city and county government, crime and courts, feature stories and local interest. Facebook Bulletin writer, reporter; The Learning Curve. Twitter: @zoeyfields0

Jacksonville, FL

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