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Carmel Clay Schools forced to make changes, cut bus routes due to driver shortage

Carmel Clay schools are down more than 40 drivers meaning students within a mile of school have to walk or carpool.

CARMEL, Ind. — Carmel city leaders have made some changes due to the bus shortage impacting students. 

Carmel Clay Schools are down more than 40 bus drivers. It's this shortage that led the district to announce it has created "No-Bus Zones" within a roughly one-mile radius of its schools.

This means students within a mile of a school have to walk or carpool. The district said there will also be a change to school start times. Elementary students will start classes 10 minutes earlier, middle school students 20 minutes earlier, and high school students 20 minutes later. 

Additionally, all elementary schools will now be open at 7:15 a.m. to promote rolling arrivals prior to the busy bell time. 

The district said there will be other changes, too. 

The city has made accommodations for students needing to cross busy streets or dangerous intersections. 

For example, up to nine signalized, mid-block crossings are being installed near schools, with more to come if needed.

Plus, the city said police will be stationed around the schools to monitor and deter speeding. 

"We're jumping right on this because we want to get solutions in place, get the messaging out there. And then, hopefully, there is a long-term solution. Because it will get colder, it will get darker and so we want to make sure all the students are safe in the short term and the long term," City Councilman Adam Aasen.

In the meantime, the city is encouraging students and families to take advantage of paths and trails that can be used to safely traverse the city and to consider forming a "walking school bus," which is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. 

The city said another option would be to form “bicycle trains,” which are similar to the Walking School Bus, but with bikes.