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Overton School Board Receives Data About School Bus Driver Shortage

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Overton School Board Receives Data About School Bus Driver Shortage

Overton County School Board received data about the bus drivers shortages that are trending across the state.

Chair Mike Hayes Hayes said that the data collected indicated that the shortage stems from a combination of issues with pay, benefits, and the new commercial driver’s license requirements.

“In Overton County, one of our biggest issues is when you look at our employees that we currently have, probably 60 to 65 percent of our current bus drivers are of retirement age,” Hayes said. “So over the next year or two, there’s got to be some different changes and different mindset and shift the thinking process of how you’re going to recruit and retain bus drivers.”

Hayes said that the new commercial driver’s license requirements present an added challenge. He said it can be difficult to find potential drivers who are willing to go through some 160 hours of training.

Hayes said that he asked the school board to explore making changes once Director of Schools Donnie Holman finalizes the process for the training. He said that they are looking at hiring someone to train drivers locally or coordinating with TCAT on the training.

“Once we align on that process and figure out the process that we’re going to go then we’re going to meet as a work session or a committee with the transportation supervisor,” Hayes said. “Just to kind of throw out some ideas, go over the survey to see what we can do as a board in conjunction with the transportation supervisor to look at recruiting in the future, retaining current bus drivers, and things of that nature.”

Hayes said that a survey was done by Overton Schools’ Transportation Supervisor in partnership with the State Department of Education. He said that each county was given a survey with questions related to driver shortage, pay, and benefits, and then turned back into the state. Hayes said that all of that data was compiled across the state based on the survey done by its Transportation Supervisor.


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