The Pulaski County Public Schools transportation department has been able to maintain regular runs for the first twelve days of school and afternoon routes are now concluding by 5:00 p.m. However, the issues outlined below continue to impact our ability to operate efficiently:
- Bus driver shortage & on-going turnover- We have lost a few more drivers during the first weeks of the school year. While we are currently able to complete all regular runs and are committed to doing so for as long as possible, we are almost at the point of needing to return to the modified runs from last year. PCPS will provide as much notice as possible before changing our procedures but advise parents to begin planning for modifications in bus pick-up and drop off locations. Our transportation office is reviewing the modified routes that were used last year to determine if adjustments will be made and a copy of these routes will be made available next week.
- Student Discipline Issues- The incidents of defiance and disrespect toward bus drivers this year seem to be higher than in years past. We typically work with students and their families to help correct this type of behavior and attempt to repair relationships after incidents occur. However, given the conditions under which we are now operating, we have no choice but to reduce the tolerance shown and modify the interventions used for these types of behaviors and will begin implementing long term suspensions and expulsions from our buses for students whose behavior distracts drivers or causes disruptions to our bus routes. It is important to note that bus transportation is not a right for every student but a privilege that requires a degree of respect for those who provide this valuable service. (Reference- VA Code §22.1-176 which states “School boards may provide for the transportation of pupils, but nothing herein contained shall be construed as requiring such transportation…”)
Pulaski County Public Schools will be offering free driver training on September 11th, 18th, and 25th. Anyone interested should contact Vickie Jarrells at 540-643-0815. We welcome participation by anyone who might have an interest in becoming a licensed bus driver to help transport Pulaski County Public Schools students on regular runs, field trips, extra-curricular activities, or as a substitute.