INDIANAPOLIS — The Perry Township Schools board has approved a redistricting plan for the corporation that will affect over 2,000 students.

The decision was made at a Monday night meeting where the board unanimously voted to redraw district boundaries and offer intra-district transfers for some students.

The redistricting is the school board’s reaction to serious bus driver shortages and transportation issues. At full staff, Perry Township is supposed to have 140 drivers, but currently only has 102.

“The bottom line is, we needed a decision tonight either for or against,” said Superintendent Patrick Mapes at the meeting, “because we have to move forward getting ready for the next school year.”

The school board believes the redistricting, which will likely affect around 2,300 elementary school students, will help solve the bus driver issue. Currently, children are either sitting on the bus for an hour or waiting for an hour at school for the bus to take them home.

“We think we’ll get somewhere around 30 routes back,” Mapes said. “That will allow us to get kids home on time, which we currently cannot do.”

The newly-approved plan gives students the opportunity to transfer into a school of their choice, so long as there is room and families can handle transportation.

“We’ll look at the grade level then we’ll look at the number of students who are within the boundary and then we’ll look at the number of students who might be able to transfer into that school,” Mapes said.

Schools will fill up based initially on students within the boundaries. Pending final approval from the board, Mapes said students will have to fill out intra-district transfer applications that will likely become available in February.

Those students who already attend the school of their choice and complete the application will be given priority next followed by students who are not in the choice program but want to attend a certain school.

“Yes, I think we’ll have some kinds who won’t be able to be in their same school because they can’t provide transportation, and we’ll have some kids that don’t get to stay in their same school because they don’t get selected because of capacity,” Mapes said.

Mapes said the goal is for the intra-district transfer applications to go out in February and decisions regarding where students will attend school will be made in March.

“Get ready to see a lot more communication from the school district about this because now our job is to contact each parent to let them know where we’re moving forward, what school their son or daughter will be attending,” Mapes said.