FRANKLIN — After bus routes in the Franklin School District were canceled and delayed last week, parents were notified Wednesday that 18 more routes have been canceled for at least the next three weeks.
The school district works with First Student bus company. The district still had four routes that have been canceled since last week, bringing the total of routes canceled to 22 for the next three weeks.
Danelle Kenney, a mom of four high schoolers in the district, said the back and forth has been "frustrating." Her kids take the bus home after school and their route was one of the 18 canceled.
"For now, we're just making ends meet and making do with what we can," Kenney said.
In an email from the Franklin School District to parents, school administrators said, "We are not pleased with this decision by First Choice" and "At this time, we advise you to make other transportation arrangements for your child."
The district also said it's looking at alternatives.
Kenney isn't optimistic a solution will be found in the next three weeks.
"I feel like that even with our businesses that we run, it's really hard to get employees. I think it's an employee shortage and they have to train bus drivers and people have to get licenses, so I don't know. We're not holding our breath for it to be done and back to normal in three to four weeks," she said.
To make matters worse, Kenney currently has a broken leg and can't drive.
"We're down a driver, so it's hard. My husband has to drop them off, go to work, leave work to pick them up, and then bring them home, and then go back to work," Kenney said.
In the meantime, Kenney said her family will just have to wing it. But that means her kids may have to wait at school a while longer until they can be picked up by their parents.
One of Kenney's kids, Mari, said she'll have to find ways to keep herself busy while waiting to be picked up.
"If I've got homework, I'll probably do homework. I'd probably just have to sit there and wait it out. Hopefully, maybe there'd be a friend to talk to that also doesn't have a bus ride home," Mari said.
In the email district officials sent out to families, they went as far as to add a link to bus driver openings with First Student, showing just how dire the situation is. Job openings at First Student can be found on the company's website..
On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Franklin School District said district leadership worked Thursday to provide before and school supervision options for students. It will not begin until Monday for families.