School Start Times



Our Problem

Across the nation, there is a bus driver shortage. In the Park Hill School District, this has led to frustrating challenges. As Park Hill has grown, it has become more and more difficult for our school-bus service to keep and hire enough bus drivers. Our families and our school staff tell us they notice the problems in service that result from First Student’s shortage of drivers. Having so many inexperienced, substitute drivers and so many office workers having to cover bus routes means too many late buses and too many communication problems.

While costs for transportation increased sharply over the last few years, state funding for transportation has not kept up. Because we have some money in our reserves, this gap in funding is not an immediate crisis, but we cannot keep taking money from the reserves indefinitely for this and other costs.


Our Solution

We worked with First Student on solutions like increased driver pay, marketing job openings, and creative recruiting efforts, including providing hours in district jobs to help bring drivers up to full-time employment. However, there were still not enough drivers, so the Board voted to move ahead with efforts to add more tiers of bus routes, which would change our start times. Because the same drivers would be able to circle around and drive the additional tiers of bus routes, we would not need as many drivers.


Our Process

We initially started our process in April to change school start times, but because of overwhelming feedback from our Park Hill parents, staff members, students and community members, we decided not to change our start times for the 2019-2020 school year. Since then, our Sleep and Start Times work group investigated research about students’ sleep needs, and it considered how changing start times would impact our schools and our families’ lives. The work group’s report included survey results from more than 1,000 parents and about 400 staff.

To help us address this ongoing problem, our Board of Education approved advisory committee members, a timeline and evaluation criteria for creating a multi-tier busing model. This would change school start times, starting with the 2020-2021 school year.

This advisory committee studied the factors affecting this issue. They took into account the findings of the Sleep and Start Times work group.





Our Problem

Across the nation, there is a bus driver shortage. In the Park Hill School District, this has led to frustrating challenges. As Park Hill has grown, it has become more and more difficult for our school-bus service to keep and hire enough bus drivers. Our families and our school staff tell us they notice the problems in service that result from First Student’s shortage of drivers. Having so many inexperienced, substitute drivers and so many office workers having to cover bus routes means too many late buses and too many communication problems.

While costs for transportation increased sharply over the last few years, state funding for transportation has not kept up. Because we have some money in our reserves, this gap in funding is not an immediate crisis, but we cannot keep taking money from the reserves indefinitely for this and other costs.


Our Solution

We worked with First Student on solutions like increased driver pay, marketing job openings, and creative recruiting efforts, including providing hours in district jobs to help bring drivers up to full-time employment. However, there were still not enough drivers, so the Board voted to move ahead with efforts to add more tiers of bus routes, which would change our start times. Because the same drivers would be able to circle around and drive the additional tiers of bus routes, we would not need as many drivers.


Our Process

We initially started our process in April to change school start times, but because of overwhelming feedback from our Park Hill parents, staff members, students and community members, we decided not to change our start times for the 2019-2020 school year. Since then, our Sleep and Start Times work group investigated research about students’ sleep needs, and it considered how changing start times would impact our schools and our families’ lives. The work group’s report included survey results from more than 1,000 parents and about 400 staff.

To help us address this ongoing problem, our Board of Education approved advisory committee members, a timeline and evaluation criteria for creating a multi-tier busing model. This would change school start times, starting with the 2020-2021 school year.

This advisory committee studied the factors affecting this issue. They took into account the findings of the Sleep and Start Times work group.