PARIS, Ky. (WDKY) – As school districts across the Commonwealth prepare for back-to-school, many are reporting the same problem – they’re lacking bus drivers.
Ahead of day one for Paris Independent Schools on Wednesday, something’s missing. Bus drivers, and. according to superintendent Stephen McCauley, quite a few of them.
“We have regular staff that have other jobs that are covering bus routes,” McCauley said. “It’s kind of all hands on deck and we’ve had teachers and other staff people that stepped up to fill those roles, but that makes for an extremely long day.”
To put the bus driver shortage into perspective, McCauley says six routes are optimal. They’re starting the school year with four. McCauley says this means they need to stagger bus routes and stagger start times.
“We’ve got a pretty good gap between the start times from our elementary to our middle and high school,” McCauley says.
It’s a problem that’s crossing county lines.
“We really are looking for 12 more overall bus drivers to kind of complete the needs that we currently have,” said Jessamine County Schools Superintendent Matt Moore.
Moore says, of the 92 routes in the district, they’re short on drivers for seven of them. Now, Moore, like many in the Commonwealth, is actively looking to fill the void.
“They are the smiling face that our students see when they’re getting on the bus getting ready to start their school day, so it’s a really important part of the jessamine county school system,” Moore says.
McCauley says they’re getting creative to make the bus driver position a coveted one. He says they’re making the job full-time and they’re bringing in bus monitors to help keep kids safe.