Buffalo Public Schools could begin paying parents to drive their children to school

Buffalo Public Schools could start paying parents to drive their kids to school
Posted at 11:44 PM, Sep 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-21 23:44:09-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Buffalo Public School Board of Education plans to alleviate the driver shortage. The Board now considering whether or not to implement a $856,000 Parent Transportation Reimbursement Pilot Program. This program would allow up to 15,000 parents in the district to earn 63 cents for every mile they drive to when taking their children to and from school.

"Mornings are very hectic but I like to get them out a little earlier before the bus schedule because I know how First Student can be," said LaCandice Durham.

LeCandie Durham has three children in the Buffalo Public School system. She feels getting the kids to and from school is already stressful on it own but adding a bus driver shortage on top makes things even worse.

"The school called me about 2:00pm and they stated the buses are really behind due to short staff," said Durham. "Are you able to come pick the kids up? I don't get out of work until 4:30pm."

Durham said her kids got home an hour later than they were supposed to on Monday. She also said it's not an easy solution to just pick up and go get them every time the buses are running behind.

"I've never met no job that said 'hey, it's okay to be late so you can take your child to school,'" said Durham.

Durham told 7 News the school board needs to try some "out of the box" solutions. One approach on the agenda for Wednesday nights board meeting was the Parent Transportation Reimbursement Pilot Program.

"Paying the parents right now, I think that's just going to be a mess," said Durham.

Durham wasn't the only one who feels like this isn't ideal. Board member at-large, Larry Scott said he can't stand behind a solution that will throw nearly $1 million dollars when it hasn't been proven.

"Less than 5% of respondents on our transportation survey would commit to driving their kids to school," said Scott.

On the other hand, board member Sharon Belton-Cottman said not trying anything at all is unacceptable.

"Not to try something is out of the question," said Belton-Cottman. "Not this time."

7 News followed this meeting very closely all night. However, the board decided not to vote on the issue and tabled it for another time.