INDIANAPOLIS — Anticipating that school bus drivers will again call off work, Indianapolis Public Schools announced in a statement Sunday night it does not believe it will be able to run regular school bus routes Monday morning.
IPS said a final update will be provided to families by 5:30 a.m. Monday.
"While our team does have a contingency plan for the current number of drivers who have called off, any additional drivers who chose to call off overnight would make coverage no longer feasible," the statement read.
The school district recommended that families look for alternate transportation, including carpooling and public transportation.
IPS said it has partnered with IndyGo to provide free rides to all students in elementary and middle school. Students would need to tell IndyGo bus drivers they attend IPS. Adults accompanying younger students would need to purchase their own bus fare, which is $1.75 for a two-hour ticket and $4 for an all-day pass.
High school students have free IndyGo bus passes embedded in their student IDs, the statement said.
All schools will remain open Monday and meal service will be provided for students.
Approximately 18,000 students, more than half the district, missed school Friday when nearly 100 school bus drivers and monitors called off work.
IPS superintendent Aleesia Johnson said Friday in an interview with RTV6 the bus drivers' decision to call in sick was a direct response to the district's decision to outsource transportation operations to bus company First Student for the 2020-21 school year.
Please click the link for an updated message to families for Monday, March 2.
— IPS (@IPSSchools) March 2, 2020
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Former bus drivers speak
In an exclusive radio interview Sunday morning with RTV6 reporter Cameron Ridle, two former IPS employees speaking for union members, Catherine Beeler and Yolonda Gray, say it is not yet known if there will be enough bus drivers for Monday.
The former drivers, who are still a part of the union, told Radio One the drivers and monitors are using allotted sick days out of fear they will not be compensated for them at the end of year.
You can listen to the interview below: