School bus driver shortage affecting Michiana school districts
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. – The school bus driver shortage is affecting pretty much every school district. Currently, Concord Community Schools has 26 active bus drivers.
Concord Community School Superintendent Dan Funston said the goal is to have at least 32 drivers this upcoming school year. So, in the meantime, it's all hands on deck until they can get those positions filled.
"People who may be in a managerial role or they’re maybe not bus drivers, but the other departments were just putting you know getting everybody we can and fill those routes as best we can,” Funston said.
Concord Community Schools superintendent said they’ve been experiencing a bus driver shortage for the past six years. Although the pandemic didn’t help the situation, Funston said the shortage has more to do with the local economy more than anything, and other school officials are sharing the same sentiment.
“It’s competitive out there right now, individuals can go drive for trucking companies, because they basically, require the same CDL or in the area they can work for other companies that are very competitive right now,” Edwardsburg Public Schools Superintendent, James Knoll said.
Edwardsburg Public School superintendent said they’ve had to combine routes and even cancel school due to the lack of bus drivers. Concord Community Schools moved to a four-tier routing system, to combat that issue. Each bus driver has four routes in the morning and four routes in the afternoon.
“It just makes it difficult to provide good, consistent service. Our drivers are work extremely hard, they’re stretched really thin trying to do the job, and it's been very difficult,” Funston said.
Schools across Michiana are recruiting school bus drivers by adding incentives to attract applicants.
School districts that are hiring school bus drivers: