The St. Paul School District is delaying the start of its after-school instructional programming by two weeks — a move it attributes to the state's bus driver shortage.

Classwork that was set to begin on Monday now will launch on Oct. 21, according to Tuesday's announcement.

"We are optimistic that bus drivers can be found within the next couple of weeks," the district said.

The Extended Day for Learning program is available to students throughout the K-12 system, and includes instrumental music and help in math and reading for elementary students, and credit recovery opportunities for high schoolers.

About 6,000 students have signed up for this fall, Jerry Skelly, a district spokesman, said Tuesday.

The district said it will work to make up the delayed programming by adding a week in May.

During a meeting in September, school board members heard of the importance of after-school music instruction in light of cuts that have been made during the regular school day.

The bus driver shortage is not unique to St. Paul, but Superintendent Joe Gothard noted on the first day of school this year that it could affect school arrival times across a three-tier transportation system that finds kids being picked up and dropped off for 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. school starts.

The district plans to reach out to companies with which it currently does not have contracts in an effort to resolve the after-school issues.