CHESAPEAKE, Va. — School bus drivers here are raising concerns over a change made to school bus parking procedures by the district, WVEC reports.

Chesapeake Public Schools previously allowed bus drivers to keep their buses at their homes, but recently adopted centralized parking, with 23 designated locations, which are primarily school parking lots across the district, Kellie Goral, the spokesperson for Chesapeake Public Schools told SBF. Bus drivers can now only park their buses in these locations.

The district made the change in an effort to cut costs and improve efficiencies.

The idea for the parking switch came from an independent study of the district's transportation services, conducted by Prismatic Services Inc., which recommended the parking change. The study concluded that the switch would cut down on delays in getting students to and from school, help technicians address maintenance concerns quicker, and could save the district $94,000 this year. Nineteen of the sites were already being used to park buses, and 22 of the sites are equipped with lighting and security cameras, according to the school district.

A presentation on centralized parking was given at a school board planning meeting held on Sept. 24. Then, several of the bus drivers attended a school board meeting on Monday and said they have issues with on-time performance and safety, particularly at night when drivers have to park buses in the dark, according to WVEC. Bus driver Janie Sawyer said the change will add 1,566 miles a year on her bus. Drivers pointed to broken buses and driver shortage as the reasons students get to school late.

One location was revised after the school board meeting that was held on Monday. Meanwhile the district is continuing to monitor centralized parking for school buses and will make changes and/or adjustments as needed, Goral told SBF.

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