On the morning of Jan. 11, the bus company that manages Tacoma Public Schools, which operates in Seattle’s inner suburbs, announced a major change.
The bus company will no longer hire new drivers, as happened in recent years, the announcement said.
Instead, new drivers will be hired for the first time in more than a decade, replacing those who had left.
The change has been a long time coming.
Since the late 1990s, the company has hired only about 10 drivers per year, said John Schafer, the district’s public safety chief.
“That was a real big deal for us, that was a big deal to people,” Schafer said.
The company also announced it would close two of its eight bus routes, including one near the new headquarters, for at least three years. “
When you do something like this, you don’t want to be caught up in that.”
The company also announced it would close two of its eight bus routes, including one near the new headquarters, for at least three years.
But that has not stopped some people from asking why the bus system’s finances haven’t improved.
Some drivers have said they are working full time jobs that they cannot afford to pay their fares.
Schafer noted the new hiring and closing of routes has created a shortage of drivers and has increased the cost of the buses, which has been partly offset by the money from the sales tax increase.
In response to the announcement, a local transit advocacy group called Metro Transit for Children, which works with kids who have disabilities, said that the school system needs to “take a hard look at the funding system that the district is using to operate the buses.”
“The bus system can’t do this on its own, and it doesn’t need to do this,” said Paul Kallman, the group’s executive director.
The district has been struggling for years to find drivers, a challenge that many of its suburban districts face. “
We’re really concerned that the budget will be in dire straits and that the schools won’t be able to maintain their operations.”
The district has been struggling for years to find drivers, a challenge that many of its suburban districts face.
In 2014, when it launched a pilot program to replace drivers with part-time teachers, many people questioned the decision.
In the last fiscal year, the city of Tacoma, the state of Washington, the Federal Transit Administration and the U.S. Department of Education sued to stop the district from doing so.
But the lawsuit was thrown out by a judge and the program resumed.
Last year, Schafer and his staff started a task force to review the districts finances, and in November, the task force released a report that recommended the district close the bus fleet and invest in new buses.
Schafers new report, released Monday, was critical of the school districts budget and said it is “time to make the right investment.”
He also called for the district to consider a sales tax hike to fund the district and expand the district bus fleet.
In addition to making the changes, the report called for improving the financial performance of the district.
The report also said the district could consider moving from a three-tier district system to a one-tier system.
Scharfers report did not provide a cost estimate for the change.
For the district, the budget and the budgeting process have been slow moving, Schafer said.
In 2015, the Seattle Times wrote about the need to make improvements.
The district received $8.3 million in state aid for the 2017-18 school year, up from $2.4 million the previous year, and received $6.9 million for 2018-19, the paper reported.
The new revenue was not enough to cover operating expenses, and some districts have had to raise taxes or cut staff, Scharfer said in a press release.
“This is the first budget that we’ve seen in 10 years that we’re actually in good shape,” he said.
Schaffers task force recommended the city increase property taxes and eliminate the district sales tax.
The Seattle Times article also said some schools have been struggling to keep up with a growing enrollment.
In January, the Tacoma school district had just under 1,400 students in its school system, according to the latest district enrollment figures.
By July, that number had grown to more than 2,600.
The school district also reported an increase in the number of students with disabilities, from nearly 1,600 in 2015 to about 2,200 this year.
“These numbers have been on the rise in the last several years, and that has caused us to have to start taking some hard measures,” Schafs report said.
The number of student transfers also rose this year, from 1,200 to 2,000.
The state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction has been conducting a wide-ranging audit of the schools, looking for areas where students are not receiving sufficient support, according the state