LOCAL NEWS

Seattle Public Schools will not change start times despite growing bus driver staffing concerns

May 18, 2022, 4:34 PM | Updated: May 20, 2022, 9:02 am
(Photo by Craig F. Walker via Getty Images)...
(Photo by Craig F. Walker via Getty Images)
(Photo by Craig F. Walker via Getty Images)

Superintendent Brent Jones has determined Seattle Public Schools (SPS) will continue the two-tier transportation system for the 2022-23 school year.

This followed internal discussions to change the system to three tiers, meaning three different starting times for the school day depending on the grade level.

The proposed change was for the Tier 1 block to start at 7:40 a.m., Tier 2 at 8:30 a.m., and Tier 3 at 9:30 a.m.

With the current two-tier system staying in place, Tier 1 is designated for most elementary schools, while Tier 2 is for K-8, middle, and high schools in the school district.

“Over the last several weeks, we have been listening to the concerns from school, families, and partners around the proposed move to a 3-tier bell schedule,” Jones said in response to families’ concern about the staggered times. “Seattle Public Schools is committed to providing reliable transportation that gets students to school on time and ready to learn. Staff will continue to work with schools, families, and partners over the next several weeks as we refine this plan.”

Parents brought up multiple concerns to the SPS Board, including high school student-athletes needing to leave class for athletic events, older siblings watching after younger siblings after class, traveling in the dark during winter months, and the potential changes to afterschool programs.

The three-tier system proposal coincided with a national shortage in bus drivers, including a deficiency in staff for First Student, the transportation service responsible for bussing SPS students to and from school. There are 50 suspended school bus routes due to a lack of drivers. Bus driver scarcity is expected to continue into the upcoming school year.

“We have no comment on the tiered structures under consideration as we believe SPS and its constituents in the community should decide what’s best,” said Scott Gulbransen, Senior Director of Communications for FirstGroup America, currently representing First Student. “We respect the process the SPS is following to make that choice. No matter how that plays out, our focus is to provide safe and reliable transportation for all those we serve in the SPS.”

First Student, the bus service SPS has used for more than 30 years, is currently competing against a rival company, Zūm Services, to win the bid and renew its contract as the exclusive transportation service for the district.

Rival to First Student exposes Seattle Schools’ fumbled bidding war

“No, that’s not an issue for us,” said Jesse Moore, the spokesperson for Zūm Services, when asked if a two-tier system would be an issue for Zūm Services. “An important caveat though is this process was supposed to be wrapped in December. But [Zūm Services] has set all its stuff up in a hurry before, so it wouldn’t be an issue long term.

“It’s not in First Student’s financial interest to solve this issue, that’s why they are pushing for three tiers,” Moore continued.

Local News

(Photo credit should read JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)...
MyNorthwest Staff

Seattle Airport expects more than 150,000 travelers per day this holiday weekend

This holiday weekend, air travelers should be prepared to face delays as large amounts of people are expected to pass through Seattle Airport. 
24 hours ago
(KIRO 7)...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Judge revokes release of Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer, orders $100,000 bail

Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer had to post $100,000 bail to stay out of jail today as he awaits trial for charges of false reporting.
2 days ago
Follow @http://twitter.com/Mynorthwest...
MyNorthwest Staff

Initiative to decriminalize drug possession fails to make November ballot

A statewide initiative that sought to decriminalize drug possession in Washington State won’t be on the November 2022 ballot.
2 days ago
Photo by Karen Ducey...
MyNorthwest Staff

AG unveils law to lower healthcare cost for millions of residents

Starting today a new law goes into effect that makes 4 million Washington residents eligible to receive free or discounted hospital care.
2 days ago
A member of the Washington State Patrol guards an entrance as Washington National Guard personnel w...
MyNorthwest Staff

Inslee prohibits Washington State Patrol to aid out-of-state abortion investigations

Inslee is continuing to look at additional steps to protect patients from investigations initiated by agencies and vigilantes in anti-choice states.
2 days ago
Washington State Cougars running back Deon McIntosh (3) gets into the end zone for a Cougar touchdo...
MyNorthwest Staff

Gee and Ursula’s top stories: Future of the Pac-12, Inslee’s Vaccine Mandate

KIRO Newsradio’s Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin bring you their top stories on the day on July 1.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Seattle Public Schools will not change start times despite growing bus driver staffing concerns