ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Forest Hills Public Schools started bus clubs in May as elementary school parents struggle with bus route cancelations.
“We’ve used it three times,” said Anna Niewenhuis, whose girls go to two separate schools. “They’ve just had it a couple of weeks, but it’s gone really smoothly, and my daughter actually loves going to bus club.”
Families whose bus routes are directly impacted by staffing shortages are notified the week before about cancelations and are now offered an option to opt-in to the bus club. Bus club is a short-term solution where parents can drop off their kids before the start of school or pick them up a bit later while knowing students are still supervised.
“For our schools that start around 8:45 in the morning, they can actually be dropped off at 8 a.m.,” said Julie Davis, FHPS assistant superintendent for finance and operations. “At the end of the day, they would need to be picked up by 4:30 p.m.”
Davis said each school operates and notifies parents about its bus club differently. Typically, an email is sent out to parents with instructions on how to sign up for the week’s offering.
As schools across the nation continue to struggle with busing shortages, parents like Niewenhuis welcome this new option.
“It was constantly a balance, especially with two kids at two separate schools. Are grandparents going to help? Can we carpool with neighbors? Who is going to have to take the morning off of work,” she said.
School administrators supervise students while regular drop-off and pickup continue. Meanwhile, district officials continue to work on more long-term solutions as they attempt to recruit additional drivers to their district.