PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — Parents and students are adjusting to new school start times in Pasco County.

What You Need To Know

  • New bell times start this week in Pasco County

  • Change was made due to ongoing bus driver shortage

  • Many parents reported bus delays

  • School officials say most issues should be resolved this week

The changes officially started on Tuesday, the first day of school since the holiday break. The bell times were changed due to the ongoing bus driver shortage, officials said.

Parent Brian Connelly, of Land O’ Lakes, said getting his kids ready for school is now affecting his job. 

“My wife and I now have to alternate taking time off to get the kids to their bus stops,” he said.

Two of his kids had their start times pushed back 30 minutes — his daughter doesn’t start school until 10:10 a.m. now.

“It’s a 30-minute change but it makes a big difference,” Connelly said. “We were squeezing them in before this. Now there’s no way we can squeeze them in before any of our meetings or our shifts start.”

On top of that, he said the buses ran late on Tuesday and again on Wednesday morning, and many other parents reported similar delays across the county. There were also concerns about increased traffic at some schools and neighborhoods.

Pasco County Schools officials made the start time changes due to the ongoing bus driver shortage, which has left the district down about 100 drivers. During the fall, buses were continually running late and students were missing school time.

School officials said most issues with the changed schedules should be resolved this week. Some schools also reported having more buses arrive on time than before the changes were made.

The Pasco COunty School Board is expected to reassess the bell times in May for the next school year.

In the meantime, many parents are still figuring out the best way to get their kids to and from school.

“That’s the only way we get around this," Connelly said. "I have to completely change my work schedule and lifestyle."