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Bus Driver Shortage Mixed Bag Across UC

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Bus Driver Shortage Mixed Bag Across UC

A national school bus driver shortage has placed a strain on school districts across the Upper Cumberland.

Overton County Schools Transporation Supervisor Steve Mosley said while the routes are covered using full-time and substitute drivers, they still could use three to four more to create a full team.

“Wher it runs into trouble is if you have a driver that’s sick or is at home sick with a family member, you can’t just call a sub as a school would with a sub teacher because of CDLs, this that and the other,” Mosley said. “So on those days we try to cover that with another driver, and sometimes you have to cancel a route.”

Mosley said they have not had to cancel a route so far this year, but that it has happened in the past. Mosley said he believes the lack of drivers is due to pay, training requirements, and the national workforce trend.

Putnam County Transportation Supervisor Ron Chaffin said they currently have all routes covered with just two substitute drivers. He said with two in training, they expect to have a full-time team shortly.

“One of the things that I think was a huge help was all of our drivers and attendants went through a pay raise at the beginning of this year,” Chaffin said. “That was a huge help that our school board and our county commission approved.”

However, Chaffin said that just because they have full coverage does not mean they aren’t looking for drivers. Chaffin said with the recent growth in the county causing some buses to have more congestion, they hope to add more routes in the near future.

Jackson County Schools Transportation Supervisor Phyllis Goad said last week that one route had to depart early to make sure kids didn’t get home at 7 p.m. She said while she doesn’t expect that to be a regular occurrence, it is going to be something to keep an eye on.


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