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Fulton schools short on bus drivers, superintendent assures all routes will be covered


Fulton School District Superintendent Ty Crain told ABC 17 News on Wednesday that everything is on track for Fulton Public Schools to begin.

The district is in need of three bus drivers for the new school year. To make sure that all routes are covered, the district needed to make some adjustments to transport all of its students.

"We have all of our routes covered. And when I say we have all of our routes covered, we've had to adjust some routes to make sure that we -- you know -- if we had enough staff and enough drivers. An additional couple of couple of drivers, we would probably add a router to so the buses weren't quite as full," Crain said during an interview for ABC 17's morning show. "But we are prepared to be able to transport all of our students and but by all means, if somebody's looking to drive buses, we have some availability for that."

The district has also been undergoing several maintenance and construction projects over the summer. This year, the middle school will have an additional eight classrooms.

Get the Lead Out of Schools Drinking Water Act was passed by Missouri Legislature in 2022 to further prevent lead exposure in children. Crain says that all of the district's buildings are preparing for the lead testing to take place in the fall.

"As we come back off of the pandemic and the learning loss that we've seen," said Crain. "We we focused a lot on interventions and providing opportunities, whether that be before or after school, during school to identify students and where they are struggling, utilizing localized assessments to determine what areas they need additional help with, and then providing the time and the staff to have those individualized interventions with them, and so that's an ongoing process."

DESE also reported a drop in attendance in Fulton and the state of Missouri as a whole between 2021 and 2022. The district recognized that attendance was going a concern last year.

This graph shows an attendance dip from 2020 to 2022. Fulton Superintendent Ty Crain says the district saw an improvement over the past year by 6%. [Courtesy of DESE]

According to Crain, the district used different signage, messaged parents and even advertised the importance of attendance at sporting events. Crain says that the district saw improvements in attendance rates after these strategies.

"And so we actually, this past year saw over a 6% increase in attendance this past year from the previous year. And we're gonna continue that focus and continue that campaign so that we hopefully will just see that number rise even more this year. So to answer your question is yes, we will this year, but it'll be a continuation of what we did previously," said Crain.

In May, Gov. Mike Parson announced that public and charter schools could sign up for a new state-funded mobile emergency alerting application called Raptor Alert. According to Crain, Fulton was looking into utilizing the application before the funds were made available by the state.

"For us, we're going to utilize it for that panic button for staff. And we're also going to utilize it for a reunification process," said Crain. "So if for some reason, we have to relocate our students and our staff to an external location, because of any emergency, we can utilize rafter to help reunify with the appropriate parents or guardians and have a process for that. And then lastly, we'll also utilize it to manage our drills. But we'll be rolling out this fall."

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Grace Pankey


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