Niagara Falls City School District pushes up high school dismissal time due to bus driver shortage

Posted at 5:30 AM, Nov 08, 2021

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Niagara Falls City School District has pushed up its high school dismissal time by half an hour to address its bus driver shortage.

The move, effective Monday, means that students at Niagara Falls High School will be dismissed at 2:30 p.m. instead of 3:00 p.m. so that drivers can more easily drop off high school and elementary school students in a timely manner.

In October, district superintendent Mark Laurrie said inaction would put student safety at risk.

"To not do anything continues to put students' safety, I believe, at harm and there are factors outside of our control; the weather and time change, are only going to exacerbate this problem," said Laurrie.

At that time, Laurrie cited the end of Daylight Saving Time as a major safety concern; it was taking drivers as much as 90 minutes to complete their routes, meaning some students would be arriving home after sunset.

Currently, the district says it is averaging 35-40 bus drivers when it needs 60-65 to safely pick up and drop off students on time.

It's not clear how long the change in schedules will last. Laurrie said in October he is hopeful it will be a short-term fix.