PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — There is a nationwide shortage of school bus drivers. Our Tampa Bay school districts are no exception.
This year, thousands of parents, guardians and children are adjusting to new school bus routes, pick-up times and locations to accommodate for a lack of school bus drivers.
With that comes a lot of questions, concerns, and confusion from parents and guardians. To help, Pasco County Schools created a Transportation Call Center. The call center was opened five days before classes began, giving parents time to make last-minute calls for information.
"The goal is to proactively provide parents an opportunity to get their questions answered prior to the start of the school year next Wednesday," the school district shared in an email. "Starting on the first day of school and for seven additional days, the Call Center will remain open for two shifts corresponding with the time that school buses are on the road."
The Call Center will be taking calls on the following schedule:
- August 5, 8, and 9 from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
- August 10 through 19 from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and again from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The numbers to call to reach the Transportation Call Center are:
10 Tampa Bay stopped in at a Pasco County School on the first day of classes as elementary students made their way into their new classrooms.
At Gulfside Elementary Community Partnership school, only three buses come and go to pick up kids, leaving little impact on those in charge of getting little ones to class. The principal, Pio Rizzo, shared his school did get some concerned phone calls over the county bus route changes.
"We had a few concerned parents but we were able to ease their concerns by giving them the proper information of their bus stop and bus pick-up times," Rizzo said.
This is Rizzo's first year at Gulfside and as a principal. While standing in a noisy and excited hallway, he said that's exactly how it's supposed to be.
"School is just not the same without the kids," he shared. "To see them back on campus, hearing their excitement, seeing their smiling faces is what it's all about."