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White County Schools Navigating Bus Driver Shortage

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
White County Schools Navigating Bus Driver Shortage

White County Schools have lost nine drivers over the last two years and dropped two routes due to staffing issues.

This was said during the Thursday night school board meeting’s maintenance and transportation presentation. White County School Director Kurt Dronebarger said it has forced the school system to make some difficult decisions but is proud of the staff making transportation possible.

“We’ve combined routes, we’ve put our maintenance folks behind the wheel that are licensed CDL drivers, but we’ve put them behind the wheel,” Dronebarger said. “I have my CDL and I’m on the list if they need to call me and I’m certainly willing to do that… You know, we just do whatever it takes.”

Dronebarger said driving a bus is a difficult job, with strange hours and a hire has to be able to work well with kids. On the school systems end, Dronebarger said they want a quality hire that can meet that criteria.

“It takes a pretty upstanding person to put behind the wheel, and we don’t want just anybody driving those buses,” Dronebarger said. “That’s part of it as well, and then the benefits that it may or may not bring play into it.”

He said White County schools have been fortunate to avoid going to any extremes for transportation.

“There’s some challenging decisions out there, I know other districts have really had to look at different things,” Dronebarger said. “Double-running routes, staggering start times and there’s a lot of different things you can do… We haven’t had to go to those extremes quite yet.”

Dronebarger said the school system has to compete with other job opportunities for people with CDL licenses. However, Dronebarger said he’s proud of the staff he has, that make transportation possible.


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