Spartanburg Co. schools grapple with student transportation

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — As schools transition a growing number of students from hybrid learning to on-campus schedules, school transportation officials must make the most of their resources to get kids to class on time.

The changes in students’ schedules presents a problem: Districts have the same number of buses and drivers to get more students to school before the first bell, all while operating on 67 percent capacity per bus. State school officials capped the number of students on buses at any one time to two-thirds capacity to reduce health risks to drivers and riders.

According to Spartanburg District Seven Transportation Director Linton Carpenter, it’s taken all hands on deck to meet the occasion.

“It is a challenge every day,” he said. “We have been able to identify what buses could pick up another route close to their route and still not be overloaded. We try for the buses not to have to make double, triple trips.”

Carpenter reports several minor hiccups in the district’s transportation of students in recent weeks as logistics have been hammered out. On some days, he has driven school buses himself to make up for the district’s five-driver shortage.

Overall, though, he says the district should be able to accommodate the number of students returning to in-person learning this fall.

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