ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Lee County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jason Miller is responding after a letter was sent home about bus routes.
Middle and high school kids who live within one and a half miles of Lee County School are no longer able to ride the bus to and from school.
Kim, a mom of a first grader and a ninth-grader, said this decision was made without consulting any parents.
“As a parent, I think they should have asked our opinion before this decision was made. Lee County is normally really good about sending out emails asking for opinions and we get to vote on things a lot. And they didn’t ask anybody about this. This is a decision I think they took kind of lightly and they didn’t address other concerns up, as in a one-car household,” said Kim.
Miller said he understands that this decision put a hardship on many families, but due to a long-standing bus driver shortage, he said it’s the only option the school had.
“We have been struggling with that for a number of years, and it has come to a point that we do not have enough drives to pick up every student. So we are not picking up kids within the city limits, one and a half miles of the schools. And that only applies to grades six through 12, and we know that it creates a hardship for parents, and we certainly don’t want to do that,” said Miller.
Dr. Miller said the school is doing its best to recruit more bus drivers in the coming weeks by offering incentives to those with CDL licenses.
“My hope is that we can get enough drivers in training that we can resolve this issue. We want to provide for every family and I know that this has been a challenge for those families who received the letter. We have been working hard to try and resolve the problem and hopefully, we can. I can’t promise that we will, but we are trying,” said Miller.
Lee County students returned to class Friday and teachers and staff are taking extra precautions to continue in-person learning.
While teachers and staff members are required to mask-up before class each day, students are not required to wear a mask, except on the school bus.
However, just because they are not required for students, doesn’t mean that many kids aren’t wearing masks during class time.
“The students really took wearing a mask seriously. We had a lot of participation there. I thank them for that and I think that will continue. We aren’t requiring masks, but we are strongly encouraging them to wear a mask so that we can keep our schools open for in-person learning,” explained Miller.
According to Dr. Miller, over 5,800 students were present for the first day of class on Friday, both in-person and virtually.
He said he anticipates the number of students will continue to grow as this school week continues.