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CARMEL, Ind.– A big change for students in Carmel because of a staffing shortage.

Days before school starts – the district let parents know – students who live near the school won’t have transportation.

The school is implementing ‘No-Bus Zones’ for students who live within a 1-mile radius of a Carmel Clay school building – this includes elementary schools.

That means hundreds of parents are now trying to figure out how they are going to get their child to school with a little over a week before classes begin. 

“I want our students on buses, it’s the safest way to get them to and from school,” said Gary Clevenger, Assistant Director of Facilities and Transportation. “But if we do not have that option, we cannot make drivers appear out of thin air.”

He expects this will cause car-rider lines to be even longer this year.  

“In order to mitigate those discomforts, we are allowing the drop-off line to be a rolling system,” Clevenger said.

Another big change – elementary, middle and high school will all move to a three tier bell system to accommodate for less bus drivers, which will affect start times.  

The elementary school and middle school will start 10 minutes earlier, while the high school will start later. 

The district says they’re doing their best to recruit bus drivers but like many other Central Indiana districts, they’re struggling to find drivers. 

“This is the largest percentage increase in compensation for our bus drivers in more than 20 years,” Clevenger said.

We reached out to other school districts in central Indiana to find out if staffing shortages are impacting their bus routes. Noblesville, Pike Township and Hamilton Southeastern said they are all understaffed but it is not affecting bus routes.