Spokane Public Schools says it’s closer to solving bus delays by adding 20 more drivers

SPOKANE, Wash. — For weeks, some students have waited almost two hours for a bus. Other times, they did not even show up.

So, Durham has added 20 drivers to address the continuous problem.

In a Spokane Public Schools board meeting on Wednesday night, Durham said it now has 98 drivers. During the first three weeks of school, they were at around 85. More are hopping on board soon.

“They are 20 that are in the pipeline, six that are at the last stage of that training and will be able to add to that 98,” said Shawn Jordan, director of secondary schools at SPS. “Then another five that are in the middle and 10 that are just starting the process for training.”

SPS will soon have to focus on shifting bus routes next school year because of a big change. Middle schools will switch from teaching seventh and eighth graders to sixth through eighth.

Northside schools will make the change next school year while southside schools will shift the following year.

On top of that, SPS is in the middle of replacing three middle schools and adding three more. Bringing students and staff over will not be an easy task.

“There are a lot of logistics to make this happen,” said Jodi Harmon, chief human resource officer of SPS. “With over 30 elementary schools, we will be moving curriculum materials from those elementary schools into the new middle schools.”

Human resources will have to allocate staff based on the projected enrollment. It will have to be outlined in a contractual agreement with the Spokane Education Association.

The Pauline Flett and Denny Yasuhara middle schools will be done in fall 2022. Sacajawea Carla Peperzak middle schools are expected to be completed by fall 2023. SPS will look into what Chase and Garry middle schools need.

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