Message from BH-BL Athletic Director Joe Scalise
As we continue to navigate through these difficult times we are faced with some challenges that we unfortunately are unable to avoid. We knew going into this year that transportation was going to be extremely difficult to say the least. In an effort to make up for the shortage of district bus drivers, the district entered into a contract with Upstate Transit of Saratoga, LLC to use charter busses on a daily basis for part of our home to school transportation as well as field trips and sports. This is something we have never needed to do in the past. Many factors contribute to this shortage that has been felt by our district and many others around the Capital Region. While we were hoping for Upstate Transit to provide us with at least four buses per day for athletic transportation, earlier today, Upstate Transit indicated that they are only able to provide one bus per day for athletic trips due to their own driver shortage.
Even if we use all available BH-BL bus drivers as well as the charter buses provided by Upstate Transit, it now appears that we will not be able to provide transportation to all of our athletic contests as we had originally hoped. The district’s bus drivers stand ready and willing to assist with this issue, and are willing to work to provide this transportation after they deliver our students home at the end of the school day, but that transportation is not complete until 4 p.m. While moving the start times of our athletic competitions back and using district bus drivers to transport our students to these contests after 4 p.m. works for certain athletic teams, this is problematic for others as daylight will start to become an issue in the next few weeks with later start times. District transportation will be provided when athletic games are scheduled later in the evenings and on weekends so that parent transportation will not be necessary.
We are at a point where we need to pivot and look at what is best for our athletes so they can compete this season. I am not happy about this but I feel like we are out of options. We need to revert back to what we did last fall when parents transported their children to some of the away athletic events. This will not be necessary for all games because we can use some charter buses, and any games that start after 5 p.m. we can use BH-BL school busses. Coaches will communicate if parent transportation is needed on a game-by-game basis. We will only use parent transportation if we are unable to use a charter bus or BH-BL school bus to get us to an opposing school.
I know this is a short turn around but we need parents to take a couple minutes to fill out a few forms. The links are below. It takes some time to get parents approved so please complete these forms in the next few days so we can make sure our teams can travel next week. Below are our options for parents driving and two google forms for you to fill out. If you have any questions just let me know. Just click on the blue links to see the google form.
- Parent Transporting own child. If you are only going to be driving your own child you only need to check in with the coach at the school before the team leaves so the coach knows. You do not need to be pre approved.
- Request for Approval to Transport Athletes. Click on this link to be an approved driver by the district. We have a school policy (P8417) that states if you are transporting other athletes that you need to provide the information outlined in this document. Please take the time to fill this out correctly so that we can get parents approved asap. This link is so you are able to transport other athletes in our programs. Some of you may have filled this out already this year in Family ID for volleyball, field hockey or cross country so you do not need to do it again.
- Parent Consent to Drive with Other Parents. All parents need to fill this out so that your child is approved to drive to an athletic contest with a driver who has been approved through the process outlined in number 1 above.
Please know that we are actively recruiting bus drivers in a number of innovative ways in order to alleviate this problem. If you are interested in driving part time or full time or know anyone who is, please call our human resources department at 518-399-9141, ext. 85012. We really appreciate your help with this difficult situation.