PHILADELPHIA - The School District of Philadelphia is increasing its monetary incentive for families to drive their children to and from school in an effort to ease the blow of a district-wide bus driver shortage.
In a letter to parents, Superintendent Dr. Williams Hite said the district is doubling its incentive for families who opt-out of transportation service from $150/month to $300/month. Under the new incentive, families who cart their kids to school can earn $3,000 during the school year.
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"It has been exciting to have our young people back in school in-person," Hite wrote to parents. "However, the driver shortage coupled with a significant increase in resignations and retirements at SDP and local garages, have disrupted our operations beyond what we initially anticipated."
The district's ‘Parent Flat Rate Program’ also offers the option for families to collect $150/month if they drive their children to school in the morning and use a bus or cab service in the afternoon, according to the letter.
Families who wish to enroll in the incentive program must fill out a Google Forms sheet.
"I am asking that we work through these issues as a community," Hite said. "We realize that this driver shortage has very real consequences for our students, families and staff, and we sincerely apologize for these service disruptions."
Hite has contacted the office of Governor Tom Wolf to learn if the National Guard could ease the shortage in school bus drivers.
Philadelphia is not the only school district that is grappling with a shortage of bus drivers, several local and national districts have also been forced to brainstorm ways to get kids to school with a depleted fleet of buses.
Charter schools in Delaware have offered a $700 flat fee to get parents to cart their kids to and from school every day. Glassboro Intermediate School in southern New Jersey changed dismissal times for both the middle school and the high school citing a shortage of drivers.