The Buffalo Public Schools are looking at a new way to help kids get to school every day and have created a new program to test out the idea to see if it works.

This new pilot program, called the Parent Transportation Reimbursement Pilot Program, would pay parents a stipend to drive their kids to and from school every day.

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At the School Board meeting that happened on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, the school board members debated for nearly 5 hours before voting 8 to 1 to create this new pilot program, and fund it with more than $800,000 to see if it can work.

The program would start with around 1,500 parents and would reimburse them $0.625 per mile driven while transporting their kids to and from school.

With the Buffalo Public Schools receiving significant taxpayer money to provide transportation for more than 30,000 students daily, this has come to a head in Buffalo due to the bus driver and bus aide shortage that has been happening in Buffalo, Western New York, and nationwide. While unemployment rates are reported to be at all-time lows, many companies are struggling to find workers to fill open positions. That includes fully qualified bus drivers.

Because funds are available for transportation, officials are looking for ways to ensure kids make it to class on time. In addition to this new program, school officials are also looking at staggering the start and stop times of some schools in order to make sure that the buses that are available have time to get to each school.

Not everyone who is involved in this process is convinced it will work, one board member was very vocal about his disapproval of this program. Plus the school system did not get a huge response from parents who would agree to participate in the program.

As a parent in Buffalo, I commend the school board for doing something to try and make sure kids get to school. I also understand the logic about how you get to make this suggestion, but personally, I do not think we should pay parents to make sure their kids get to school. It's your kid, take them to school if the bus can't get them.

However, as a taxpayer, I pay taxes for the school system to get these kids to and from school. Whatever needs to happen, the school district has been charged with safely transporting these kids around, so get to it.

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