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Driving Through Mud: How Rural Massachusetts Schools Are Coping With Rising Transportation Costs

Joanne Deady's school bus navigates carefully over a icy lined and greasy mud covered Christian Hill Rd. Photo by Jesse Costa for WBUR

Joanne Deady’s school bus navigates carefully over a icy lined and greasy mud covered Christian Hill Rd. Photo by Jesse Costa for WBUR

It’s hard for rural schools in Massachusetts to get kids to and from class every day — especially now, in muddy season, when the snow has melted and the rain begins.

“This is mud and ruts and a mess,” says bus driver Joanne Deady as she points to the narrow, unpaved road on her route from Colrain Central School in northwestern Massachusetts.

It’s just after the school day and she’s about halfway through her route. Standing between her and the next drop-off is a big patch of what she calls “greasy mud” — the kind her bus can easily get stuck in if it’s deep enough.

“We’ve got a steep drop-off with leaves, dirt and trees,” she says with a firm grip on the wheel.

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