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Bastrop ISD student has missed school for a month because of a bus driver shortage

Melissa Shaw commutes an hour to get to work, making it hard for her to take time off to bring her son to and from school every day.

AUSTIN, Texas — Bastrop ISD is facing staffing challenges. Bus drivers are in high demand, and students are feeling the effects.

KVUE spoke to a BISD parent who said her son hasn't been to school in about a month. She said there are no bus routes that make it to her home. She's concerned about her son's education.

"I shouldn't have to be worried about whether or not my son can make it to school," said Melissa Shaw.

Shaw has to commute almost an hour to get to work.

"I can't leave my job for two hours at a time to make sure he gets to and from school," she added.

She's left making some tough choices. 

"It's either, do I not pay my bills and make sure he goes to school?" said Shaw. "Like, what do I do as a parent? I don't know."

We reached out to BISD and asked what the situation is. A spokesperson said some bus routes have been suspended or combined to make up for the lack of drivers. The district also created unique pick-up and drop-off locations for students because of the employee shortage.

"This type of 'shuttle service' has at least allowed more kids to get on the bus even though we aren't picking them up or dropping them off at their usual location," the spokesperson said.

With the changes, the bus routes still don't make it to Shaw's home. With her son having more than 30 absences, Shaw is asking the district to open up a virtual option because she worries about her son falling behind.

"I feel like I'm setting myself and my son up for failure in the future," said Shaw. "It feels like I'm going to have a 40-year-old son that's going to be relying on me, and I don't want that. That's not what I worked hard for."

BISD said they're offering signing bonuses, paid training and retention bonuses to recruit more bus drivers. Despite their best efforts, BISD said not much has improved.

"These measures have not fully resolved the issue and may not for the foreseeable future," the spokesperson said. "We continue to work with our outsourced partner, GoldStar Transit, to ensure that we get routes back online as quickly as possible so that we can serve our students and families, but it is an ongoing issue that we are facing."

In the meantime, Shaw will be looking into homeschooling. She hopes to get her son back on track soon.

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