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FRAMINGHAM – Last season, the Framingham High girls swim & dive team was without its home pool for practice and meets due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Keefe Tech pool, and their head coach Mike Foley secured them pool time in Wayland, where he is also the Wayland High boys swim & dive coach. The Flyers had a fabulous season despite no home pool.

Keefe Tech has re-opened its pool, and the Flyers have already been practicing in their lanes, but another obstacle is making waves for the team.

This week, the Flyers were told there will be no bus between Framingham High and the Keefe Tech pool to get athletes to practices Monday through Friday. The distance between the 2 schools is more than 4 miles.

Typically many of the seniors and juniors carpool to the Keefe Tech for practice in their private cars, but the school bus transports about 20-30 freshman and sophomores to practice.

“No question, this is problematic,” said Framingham High Athletic Director Paul Spear.

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Spear said the bus situation – at this time – is only impacting the varsity girls swim & dive team, and no other varsity fall sport.

The Framingham Public Schools signed a new 5-year contract with a bus vendor in 2021, but this week the school district learned that the vendor is 10 drivers short of its contracted 77 drivers, and thus there is not even enough drivers for the school routes to get the students to and from school on time, let along extra bus drivers for athletic routes.

“One option we are looking at is using the shuttle vans,” said Spear to SOURCE. “If necessary, myself and (Assistant Athletic Director) Ashley will drive the shuttle vans to Keefe daily for the girls to get to practice.”

Spear said he is also looking into having his coaches get their bus driver license, then they can drive their own bus and not need to wait for a driver to become available.

That option is because the athletic director said he also has “deep concerns” when it comes to buses for games.

“I am approaching the season with trepidation,” said Spear.

There is a nationwide shortage of bus drivers.

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Girls swim & dive has an away meet on Tuesday, Sept 14 against the Tigers of Newton North.

But getting the varsity girls swim & dive to practice is not the the only problem the athletic director has when it comes to buses.

Framingham Parks & Recreation told Framingham Public Schools this week that one of the two grass fields outside Framingham High needs to be “rested” and can not be used by the boys and girls soccer teams.

The alternative is Galvani Field, 2 miles away, Butterworth park, 2.5 miles away, or Merchant Field, even farther away. The junior varsity and freshman teams, more than 150 players – girls and boys – need transportation to those fields for practices and games.

Spear said football wont be impacted at this time, but he is worried about the freshmen football games at Long Field.

“They start at 3:45 p.m.,” said Spear. “The routes (getting students home from elementary school) are still going on then. If they don’t have enough drivers for the routes, I do wonder if their will be a driver for the bus for the games.”

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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.