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Clark County School District school buses line up to pick up special needs students at Variety School, 2800 E. Stewart Ave. on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2017. Photo by Jeff Scheid.

Late school buses can be a major frustration for families in the Las Vegas area. A new mobile app and a push to hire more drivers could help.

The Clark County School District’s Department of Transportation held a press conference at a bus yard on Tuesday to mark the launch of OnBoard, an app that tracks buses during service times so users know when the vehicles are expected to arrive. In addition to the app, the district is aiming to hire more bus drivers to address a shortage.

While it is still in “early access” mode and not fully functional until the school year starts, the app can be found on Google Play and the App Store for Apple users. Using any functions of it, however, requires a CCSD password and date of birth, meaning only students in CCSD schools and their parents have access to it.

The idea for the app’s creation came from East Career Technical Academy student Myra Sandoval, who graduated in 2018 and is a student worker for the school district. The app functions off of Zonar GPS systems and will show a general area of around 250 meters of where buses pick up and drop off children, but not exact locations in order to maintain the privacy of the students. The exact location of special education buses will also be hidden.

Aaron Leonard, a CCSD transportation developer and programmer of the app, hopes that the app fosters better communication between the school district and the parents.

“I think this is going to help parents to be able to very easily get the information that they need,” Leonard said. “We’re really hoping that it cuts back on the amount of redundant work we have to do, improves our communications, and allows parents to have the information they need in a timely manner to make effective decisions.”

To address a shortage of drivers, CCSD plans to hire at least 100 more people to work for the school district. Fifty-six trainees wearing yellow vests were attending a 2 ½-hour course to become bus drivers on Tuesday at the bus yard. The job’s starting pay is $15.20 per hour, with a planned job fair on Sept. 7.

CCSD is also implementing a new policy that allows bus drivers more flexibility. The district is hiring for both full day shifts and flexible employment to cover mornings or afternoons. Flexible employees will still have consistent routes to cover.

Using flex hiring also helps retain experienced bus drivers already on staff, as it helps drivers that seek employment when school is out to pursue jobs and opportunities elsewhere.

“We want to give them consistency and make sure the children that they’re [assigned to] get consistency as well,” transportation director Shannon Evans said.

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