Local school districts facing school bus driver shortages


It’s the second week of the school year and many area school districts are having to face a bus driver shortage.

We spoke with some area school districts to see how they’re handling the battle that this COVID pandemic has brought to light.

Administrators at General McLane and the North East School District told us that they are partnering with each other and other school districts to combat a common concern which is too few bus drivers.

Bus drivers are hustling to get students to school on time, but with the lingering pandemic, many area school districts such as General McLane have to be creative to cope with the bus driver shortage.

“We send four buses out. They pick up a group. They bring them in early and go back and bring another group and bring them in before the bell rings,” said Nancy Ekstrom, Transportation Manager at General McLane School District.

Ekstrom said that the pay rate is $17.65 an hour for 24 hours a week.

The district needs to fill in nine positions while they have 24 bus drivers and 33 school buses in total.

Ekstrom said that the lack of drivers continues to be a challenge more than in the past years.

She said that she understands parent’s frustration, so the district is doing the best they can to meet the need.

Ekstrom said that the district teams up with other districts such as Fort Leboeuf and North East to ease the weight.

The business manager of North East said that this year is more challenging than other years, but the district has also begun to get creative.

“We do partner with some of the districts to coordinate training classes and try to get enough people for class. We get one started and going whether it is a month or two months,” said Jeff Fox, Business Manager, North East School District.

Fox said that the pay rate is $20.40 for 24 hours a week. The district is tight on sub drivers and he hopes that parents can understand the district is trying their best to meet their needs.

“We’re doing the best we can and we would get their kid picked up and taken home safely everyday,” said Fox.

Both managers of the school districts are hoping many people can see the need to fill those bus driver positions.

If you are interested in applying to become a bus driver for General McLane, click here.

If interested in applying to become a bus driver for North East, click here.

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