Stafford County may make school bus schedule changes due to driver shortage

Parents in Stafford County are worried about their kids riding the bus after hearing about delays, no shows, and kids getting dropped off at the wrong stops. 

This is all a result of the bus driver shortage that’s happening nationwide and right here in the DMV. 

That’s why Stafford County Public Schools will discuss how to fix the serious, ongoing problem.

Millissa Thurlow, Stafford County Public Schools Parent said, "I’ve seen kids have to wait for the school bus in the morning and I don’t trust they can get to them on time."

"I don’t trust the bus system enough to put my kids on the bus," said Sarah Faulkner, another Stafford County Public Schools Parent.


School districts are desperate to get more bus drivers. They’re offering higher pay and incentives, but Stafford County Public Schools is looking into changing their current school schedule. When they announced this on their social media pages, parents went off. There are hundreds of comments with complaints voicing it’s ridiculous. 

"It’s really been disappointing and had a major impact on our household," said Faulkner.

Elementary school students will start 15 minutes earlier and middle and high schoolers start later. While may not seem like that big of a difference – families say it is because they already adapted and adjusted to a new bell schedule at the beginning of the year.

Parents say less than a two-week notice is difficult and a result of just poor planning on the school district’s part. They add the later start time cuts into their morning routines and after school activities and could make them late for work.

However, Stafford County Public Schools believes this will improve bus arrival and departure times and comes as a result of a transportation audit.

RELATED: School bus driver shortage could cause delays for many DC-area families

In a statement to FOX 5, the school district said:

"We understand that change is difficult, and we are working with our families. we truly empathize with the struggles and concerns each unique family presents, but we must ensure we are doing what is best to ensure all our students are in class and not missing important instructional time."

They add, "Currently, we are at 30 minute intervals for bus routes between each level (elementary, middle and high schools).  A transportation audit recommends four tiers with 45 minutes between each tier, which is what we have had historically. This inadequate time between tiers, coupled with the shortage of bus drivers, has exacerbated the existing timeliness of bus arrivals and departures. The purpose of the change is to ensure students are at school, on time, every day. The proposed change should improve arrival times."

"More than a quarter into the school, we’re changing it again because transportation can’t get their act together? I just – I don’t understand what this is going to change if it’s going to help anything," said Thurlow. "That’s just terrible."

The two largest school districts in Virginia, Fairfax and Prince William County tell Fox 5 DC at this time they do not plan to make any adjustments like that.

The Stafford School Board will discuss the schedule changes on at 7:30 pm on Monday, September 20th. If they decide to move forward, this plan will go into effect starting in one week – September 27.