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Florida schools still need bus drivers

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
 
School districts across Florida continue to struggle with bus driver shortages. They've cut routes and changed pickup times as part of their strategy to avoid late pickups and dropoffs.
School districts across Florida continue to struggle with bus driver shortages. They've cut routes and changed pickup times as part of their strategy to avoid late pickups and dropoffs. [ CHRIS URSO | Times ]
Published Nov. 2, 2023

The big story: Bus drivers remain in short supply for school districts across Florida.

Despite efforts to increase pay and offer other incentives, districts continue to have dozens of vacancies to transport students to and from campus daily. To combat late routes and added demands placed on current drivers, they’ve looked at a variety of actions.

Among the possible solutions are route cuts, changes to pickup and drop-off times, and retention strategies to at least keep the drivers they have. But it’s not easy.

“Nobody really wants to be a bus driver,” said Putnam County schools transportation director Sharon Spell, “because everybody else thinks it’s really easy until they actually do it and then they wind up taking their skills and talents elsewhere to make more money. You just can’t stop people from leaving.” Read more from WUFT.

Hot topics

Teacher unions: The executive vice president of Duval County’s teacher union retired her post around the same time as the union president, the Florida Times-Union reports. The membership picked new leaders on Wednesday, Jacksonville Today reports.

Teacher pay: Collier County teachers reached a tentative salary agreement with the district, though many say they are dissatisfied with the proposal structure, WINK reports.

Student discipline: A Brevard County student was suspended along with two others who wrote a racial slur on his shirt, Florida Today reports. Some residents have questioned the disciplinary action of the student, who said he was not aware of what was being written on the shirt.

Security: Palm Beach County school district leaders set school safety as one of their top legislative priorities for the year, WPTV reports. • Volusia County school officials asked the county to add more deputies to patrol area middle schools, WKMG reports.

School zones: Hillsborough County commissioners are preparing a program aiming to slow speeders in school zones, WFTS reports. • The city of Cape Coral installed new school zone signs at 15 sites warning drivers to slow down, WBBH reports.

Enrollment: Lee County schools, including charters, surpassed 100,000 students for the first time, the Lehigh Acres Citizen reports. • Central Florida school districts are seeing a rise in the number of homeless students, WOFL reports.

Classroom conditions: Sarasota High School is grappling with ongoing complaints about mold, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Attendance zones: Proposed new boundaries for Alachua County elementary schools would create overcrowding at more campuses, the Gainesville Sun reports.

From the court docket ... The Palm Beach County School Board settled a years-long dispute over whether it had to share property tax revenue with local charter schools, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Don’t miss a story. Here’s a link to yesterday’s roundup.

Before you go ... Can you ever get enough “Stairway to Heaven”? Robert Plant still owns it at 75.

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