Staffing issues force Olathe School District into “rolling blackouts” on bus routes starting Thursday

Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 5:53 AM CST
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OLATHE, Ks. (KCTV) - Olathe Public Schools bus riders will start adjusting their schedules Thursday morning due to “rolling blackouts on students’ routes.

The district is implementing rolling transportation blackouts because of an uptick in driver absences due to illness and staffing issues. They said it’s comparable to what power companies do during peak energy use.

Service will be eliminated for certain routes on specific days of the week. We have the whole list available here, but the district says that the days and routes are subject to change. Outages Thursday include:

  • 597 to Frontier Trail Middle School and Tomahawk Elementary
  • 599 for Olathe North High School and Heatherstone Elementary
  • 635 to Meadow Lane Elementary
  • 657 to Santa Fe Trail Middle School

Friday will have five bus routes altered, and six will be affected on Monday to start the next school week.

Families on routes impacted by this decision will get a 20 percent discount for their second-semester bus fee.

In short, families will need to find alternative transportation to get their kids to school. That decision has some families scrambling, as some argue their workplace won’t allow them to miss a shift or show up later in the morning.

The district said more information about how the discounts will be processed will be sent to families in the future.

The district said in a statement when this was announced last month, “The district recognizes that a change to the transportation schedule is not ideal. However, it is a necessary step in order to be able to continue providing the most consistent service possible for Olathe School District families. This short-term solution will provide a consistent schedule for families to plan around days they will receive bus service, and days they need to arrange alternative transportation.”

A district spokesperson said the affected routes will only impact students within 2.5 miles of their respective buildings, totaling around 25 percent of bus riders in the district.

Parents wishing to release their bus roster space for the remainder of the year may receive a refund for the semester. Please email to release a bus roster space.