Omaha Public Schools proposing eligibility changes for student bus rides

To address ongoing issues with student transportation, OPS officials suggest increasing numbers assigned to buses, minimum distances and pick-up ranges.
Proposed bus changes would change the eligibility of student riders
Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 6:01 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Some kids attending Omaha Public Schools won’t be eligible to ride a bus to school if the district’s newest recommendations are implemented in the next school year.

OPS families were notified Monday that the district was pushing for adjustments to student transportation policies as a means of addressing ongoing issues stemming from a shortage of drivers.

“With more bus routes than qualified drivers, Omaha Public Schools’ transportation vendor has faced frequent and significant delays in the 2022-23 school year,” the letter states.

The notice acknowledges ongoing issues with the district’s transportation vendor stemming from a shortage of qualified drivers and offers recommendations for adjustments in order to address them in the next school year.

  • Increasing the eligible distance for busing for elementary students from 1 mile home-to-school distance to 1.5 miles; and from 1.5 miles to 2 miles for middle school students.
  • Increasing bus stop ranges by two blocks for each grade level, putting eligible bus stops for elementary students every four blocks, middle-school buses every six blocks, and high school buses at every eight blocks.
  • Increasing the number of students scheduled per bus

“The home-to-school distances recommended for transportation eligibility are the same distances used by Omaha Public Schools prior to 2015,” the letter states.

According to the notice, the changes were compiled “after listening to family concerns, reviewing data, and exploring multiple transportation options.” If adopted, these updates would impact some students’ eligibility for transportation in the 2023-24 school year.

“We offer our heartfelt thanks to the drivers who are showing up every day for children. Both we and our contracted partner are hiring,” Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan said in the letter sent to OPS student families. “At the same time, we need to take steps so students have a reliable trip to and from school in the year to come.”

The OPS school board was expected to receive the recommended updates at its Monday, Dec. 12, meeting. Ahead of that, the district plans to have informational meetings for student families.

OPS informational meetings

The district has posted an FAQ about the proposed changes on its website and is also planning online and in-person meetings for those wishing to hear directly from district staff.

  • 6-7 p.m. Tuesday via a virtual meeting via Teams
  • 6-7 p.m. Wednesday in the TAC Board Room
  • 6-7 p.m. Thursday in the Benson High Cafeteria; Burmese, Karen, and Karenni-speaking liaisons will be available at this meeting.
  • 9-10 a.m. Saturday in the South High Auditorium; Spanish-speaking liaisons will be available at this meeting.

Watch an OPS video about the proposed changes

View this video in Spanish