Kearsley schools bus route affected by driver shortage

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 5:42 PM EDT
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KEARSLEY , Mich. (WJRT) - There is a large shortage of professional bus and truck drivers and it’s taking a toll on school districts, and Kearsley Community School’s is one of them.

Late pick ups, late drop offs and reconfigured routes. Kearsley Community Schools Superintendent, Paul Gaudard said that they’re doing their best to manage the bus driver shortage plaguing the district.

“At present time we have 20 routes and 17 full time drivers, so were filling that with other staff from other areas that are certified drivers. And were collapsing routes,” said Gaudard.

But some days that means it may take a little longer to be picked up or dropped off. The district has posted daily on their Facebook page asking parents to be patient at they navigate the delays.

“Parents as a whole have been very patient with us and understand some of the challenges that were facing with the shortage. But there certainly has been some frustration as well,” said Gaudard. “We’re trying to be as transparent as possible and make phone calls to let parents know what’s going on.”

He said that hiring hasn’t been easy, but they have another driver starting next week and a few working their way through the training program right now, but that takes time.

“There’s a lot of training that goes into being a bus driver, you can’t just walk in, fill out an application and be hired. There is a training process and that takes weeks,” he said.

The school district said that they’re actively hiring bus drivers, hoping to bring in two to three new drivers as soon as possible.

“All those opportunities are being bogged down too because this is something that everybody is dealing with so there is only so many people out there that can train drivers. As every district faces this, it just takes a toll on the whole system,” Gaudard said.

He said that the bus training program is paid for by the district and drivers will qualify for retirement plans.

Those who are interested can call 810-591-7622 for more information.

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