Amid a severe school bus driver shortage, school district officials in Washington, Missouri, struggled to find transportation for after school events, reported Missourian.com
John McColloch, assistant superintendent for Washington School District in Missouri, reported school vans and other vehicles are being used in order to make it through with the season.
Loyd Baile, general manager of Mid-American Coached & Tours, said according to the article that the company had covered 71 high school activities and five trips since the beginning of the school year.
Additionally, school bus contractor First Student buses over 7,000 students in the Washington, Union and Autumn Hill school districts. Manager Tim Porter stated that despite being short-staffed, the company was able to cover all 111 before-and-after school routes every day.
Porter said an ideal number of drivers at First Student would be around 120. He did not state how many drivers the company is short but he noted numerous drivers are forced to drive more than their normal routes.
Office workers, mechanics and many other employees who don’t normally drive are also picking up routes. First Student is offering hiring bonuses of $500 for bus monitors and $2,500 for driver applicants with a commercial driver’s license.
First Student is also looking into options for people who might be able to work for just the evening or morning routes.
Meanwhile, Washington High School Activities Director Bill Deckelman stated in the article that no after-school activity has been canceled yet. Nevertheless, they are seeing “the tip of the iceberg.”
It was not disclosed how much the district had spent on contractors, but Washington School District Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Kephart said the rates charged were reasonable.
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