OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The Blue Valley School District will no longer provide transportation to students who live within 1.5 miles from school.

The district’s board of education recommended approving the change during a meeting Monday evening. It will take effect starting next school year.

The state of Kansas requires the district to provide transportation for every student who lives 2.5 miles or more from school.

Blue Valley previously allowed parents to pay for bus transportation if students lived less than 1.5 miles from school. The district will no longer offer that option to high school and middle school students who live less than 1.5 miles from school. The change will impact about 515 students.

The change will not impact transportation the district provides for elementary students or students with special needs.

The biggest reason for the change is the lack of bus drivers, according to a presentation the board heard during Monday night’s meeting.

Durham provides the majority of the drivers for the school district. Through a study, the district determined it has 128 bus routes this school year, but only 117 available drivers for those routes. Those numbers don’t account for any drivers who call in sick for their shifts.

“What’s become very apparent is that because of the situation, you know kids are late to school and they’re missing learning opportunities. And then they’re late to get home and that disrupts the family on the back end,” Kyle Hayden, Deputy Superintendent, said.

The board also voted to recommend slight changes to the times school will start and end every day. The change would allow for more combination bus routes.

High school start time would remain the same, but end 10 minutes earlier. Middle schools would start and end 10 minutes later and elementary schools will begin and end 5 minutes later.

“In 22 years as a school administrator, I don’t know if I’ve had as big a challenge in something that you’re faced with persistently and pervasively on a daily basis,” Hayden said.

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