Pulaski County Public Schools works to address bus driver shortage
PULASKI COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Pulaski County Public Schools (PCPS) reports it’s down about 12 drivers, which is causing delays as kids travel to and from school.
“Many of them came up last minute, and so a lot of modifications had to be made into routes that were already developed, and then trying to communicate that to everyone proved to be a challenge that caused many routes to run late, especially the first day of school,” said PCPS Superintendent Dr. Kevin Siers.
The district reports four years ago, it had about 70 drivers and now the number has dropped to 58.
“I don’t think we would have to get back to 74, but probably around 65 or 66 would be a good number of drivers for us to be able to make runs in a timely manner,” said Dr. Siers.
Siers says he understands families’ frustrations, but they now have a few ideas to recruit more drivers.
“We’re trying to look at ways to recruit more drivers from outside of the school system, but also looking at positions that we have inside the school system, part-time positions that maybe we can consolidate with driving duties and offer it as full-time employment for employees who are interested,” said Siers.
Leaders are also hoping to expand their pool of substitute drivers by offering some type of incentive.
Dr. Siers thanks parents for their patience but says it may be a while before routes return to normal.
“If we continue to lose drivers or can’t attract additional drivers, I don’t know that we will be able to maintain our regular routes for this full year. It’s problematic to try to run full routes. You know, wherever students dropped off at his or her driveway, you know, with such a reduced number of bus drivers. But we are trying to make that work; we’re doing everything we can to make that work, because we know that’s what our community wants and that’s what helps our families,” said Dr. Siers.
School leaders said they hope to take their ideas and present them to the school board in September.
If you’re interested in becoming a full- or part-time bus driver, you can learn more by visiting Pulaski County Public Schools website.
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