By Jeff Todd

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Jeffco Public Schools is cutting several bus routes because of a shortage of drivers. The district says it’s short 80 drivers to meet the needs of the transportation department and instead of giving parents only a few hours’ notice, they’ve cut about 19 routes.

(credit: CBS)

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“I love the bus I think it’s a rite of passage, I have had my kids ride it ever since they could for kindergarten,” said Nicole Dobbs, a mother of three in the Evergreen area. “I had a morning route canceled for the high school or middle school this week was fine, elementary, the afternoon ride home was affected. It’s a little bit of an inconvenience but that’s what the past year and a half has been.”

Dobbs says the community around her youngest child’s elementary school with an online forum trying to connect parents in need of help with parents willing to pitch in.

“We posted them rideshare information, and I think that’s starting to get up and running. Now that it’s come out that this is going to be continuing for a while,” Dobbs said.

(credit: CBS)

Jeffco Public Schools canceled some routes altogether, while other routes just lost either a morning or afternoon option. The cuts are concentrated around Evergreen and Arvada and affect all grade levels.

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Dobbs says she’s been taking her high schooler to a friend’s house so they can catch a different route. She’s hoping to work with the district’s transportation department to change routes so they can pick up more kids from a centralized location.

“Whatever routes are running, whatever they can do or wherever they could stop to pick up another big group of kids,” She said. “Whatever buses are running filling those buses I think would be helpful.”

Not all parents are as understand as Dobbs, several have expressed frustration at the short notice given. The email sent to parents Thursday night says the canceled routes begin on Monday.

(credit: CBS)

Jeffco Public Schools has offered incentives for drivers, but the open positions remain. The district is also facing staffing shortages in the nutrition department and at some schools is only serving pre-made meal kits.

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“We need people who maybe have extra time on their hands, who maybe are retired, semi-retired, who would love to drive some kiddos to school would be great,” Dobbs said.

Jeff Todd