CHICAGO (CBS) — There is no word of any plan to close Chicago Public Schools facilities due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, but the district still dealing with a massive bus driver shortage related to the pandemic.

We tallied up what the district is paying to parents to do the job hundreds of bus drivers used to handle. And as CBS 2’s Chris Tye reported Thursday, many parents are passing on the payout.

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Hardest hit in this school bus driver shortage are the families of special needs students. They make up 80 percent of routes that have been scrapped scrapped.

The loss transportation for those students is so devastating that some families are leaving CPS for home schooling instead.

At the start of the school year on Aug. 30, some CPS parents were emotional at the toll just one day of an upset routine involving school buses cost their family.

“It’s not good. It’s not good,” Rosanna Rosario, the mother of a student at Frederic Chopin Elementary School, at 2450 W. Rice St. in West Town, said that day. “I need the transportation, please.”

Since then, the pleas largely have not been answered.

In September, the district was short 500 drivers. With a day left before winter break, that number has dropped 10 percent to 429 drivers.

At the start of the school year, 3,300 kids were left without a bus ride. As of Thursday, 2,817 having their guardians get them to school.

A total of 80 percent of those left without busing are diverse learners – among them the special needs daughter of Dr. Angel Alvarez and his wife.

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“There were no alternatives that were viable,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez and his wife, who can’t drive their daughter to school, said they were forced to home-school after the district told them remote learning wasn’t available.

“We want remote learning – as at least some option to provide support,” Alvarez said. “But if remote learning is not an option, essentially, solve the transportation problem.”

Alvarez emphasized that his daughter is still enrolled with CPS despite being home-schooled – and thus, he says, CPS still retains an obligation to provide services for the family.

The fix the district is sticking with for now is compensating parents who can drive their kids. Those choosing that option received $1,000 checks to start the year in September, and $500 checks every month since.

“Unfortunately, $500 is not sufficient to transport there,” Alvarez said.

CBS 2 has learned those monthly checks did not come as slated. Instead, they were sent as one lump sum earlier this month.

So far, we’ve learned those payout total $12.7 million. That amounts to roughly 10 percent of CPS’ total budget for student transportation this fiscal year.

When CPS has every driver slot filled, there are 1,200 drivers on the roads. As of last week, they had 771.

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Meanwhile, Chicago is far from alone with this problem. New York is also grappling with a bus driver shortage, and in a suburb of Cincinnati, the shortage is so bad that one district had to cancel school because of it.