Lago Vista ISD may change its bell timetable due to a lack of bus drivers

The district is 100% staffed by teachers and paraprofessionals, but has an extreme shortage of bus drivers.

LAGO VISTA, TX – When Lago Vista ISD does not secure all the needed bus drivers, the district said it may have to change its bell schedule.

In a letter to Lago Vista’s ISD community, Superintendent Darren Webb said that while the district is 100% staffed with teaching and paraprofessional positions for the 2022-23 school year, LVISD faces an “extreme shortage” of experienced, qualified bus drivers experienced.

According to Webb, LVISD is working with its transportation service provider, Goldstar Transit, to hire additional drivers and assess routes and capacity to see what needs to be done to ensure transportation services are available for students who need access to them.

However, Webb said if LVISD is not able to onboard several additional drivers and backup drivers by the start of the school year, “it is very likely that the district may need to move to a three-bus route system,” a move This would require adjusting the start and end times to ensure there is enough time to complete all three routes.

Webb said that a revised bell schedule under a three-bus route system would require these start and end times:

  • Route 1: Elementary/Intermediate – 7:30am – 3:01pm (451 minutes)
  • Route 2: Middle School or High School – 8:20am-3:51pm (451 minutes)
  • Route 3: Middle School or High School – 9:10am-4:41pm (451 minutes)

“We recognize that some families and staff may need to make adjustments and may have questions. Please understand that Lago Vista ISD is working through all possible scenarios and we are doing everything we can to ensure that all instructional, operational and transportation requirements for the district are met,” Webb wrote in the letter.

KVUE spoke with Lago Vista Assistant ISD Superintendent Suzy Lofton-Bullis on August 10. She said district leaders would meet that day to discuss the potential switch to a three-tier bus system and plan to announce their plans on Thursday, August 11. She said there was a lot to do with the bell schedule change to consider.

“You know, that makes a difference for teachers,” Lofton-Bullis said. “It makes a difference for families, drop-off and pickup, it makes a difference for out-of-schoolers. So we understand that all of these decisions have implications that go beyond pick-up and drop-off.”

On August 10, due to popular demand, they also increased the sign-up bonus from $3,000 to $5,000 for qualified drivers who have the necessary qualifications to be ready to drive immediately.

“So this is my 10th year here,” said Lofton-Bullis. “And we haven’t addressed bottlenecks of that kind.”

As the school is a week away, Lago Vista ISD had to hire three more bus drivers as of August 10th. For some larger counties, that may not sound like much. But in Lago Vista, that means the fleet is down 30%. The district leaders need a total of 10 bus drivers and at the moment they have seven. Five are general education bus drivers and two are special education bus drivers.

If the district switches to the three-tier system but can then hire more bus drivers after school starts, it would have to consider whether to keep the new timetable or switch back.

She said the leaders are just trying to serve their community as best they can.

“Our goal is to maintain a two-tier system,” said Lofton-Bullis. “If we have to move to a three-tier system but then get fully staffed, we might look at that because we want to do what’s best for students, staff and families.”

If you or someone you know would like to apply to be a bus driver for LVISD, you can do so Start the application process online. Starting salary is $19.60 per hour, training is available and there is a $5,000 signing bonus for qualified applicants with prior experience.

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Laura Coffey

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