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Back on the Bus: Drivers and students begin a new school year

Lori Finnegan wraps up the first day of school's morning routes. Photo by Margaret Ontl1 / 3
Students cheer in response to Hudson Prairie Elementary School principal Susie Prather's greeting on the first day of school. From front to back in rows are Stella Duffee and Caroline Alleva; Sonja Bell and Madeline Mielke; Maree Elliott, Logan Schuett and James Fremling; Peyton Petry; Cameron Knott. Photo by Margaret A. Ontl2 / 3
Maya Susa and Meg Kretschmer share the front seat on the way to school. Photo by Margaret Ontl3 / 3

Almost all of the 50 drivers gathered at Safeway Bus Company's ready room between the high school and elementary school portions of their routes. Once again the gigantic jigsaw puzzle which provides transportation to the students of Hudson School District, Trinity Lutheran Academy and St. Patrick School came together on Sept. 1. On the first couple of days, minor adjustments to timing and routes are made, but on the first day, generally all goes well.

Lori Finnegan started her 17th year as a driver and it was clear the families on her route greeted her with joy. On hand at each stop were parents with cameras, dogs and coffee cups in hand to send their children on the way to school. With fog rising above the hills and a red fox crossing the path of the bus, it was a near idyllic day to return to school.

According to Deputy Director Nancy Sweet, first day K-12 preliminary enrollment was 5,413. The total number of district employees is 772 including 379 of which are teachers.