School bus driver shortage causes delays in Robertson County
March 26, 2014 07:05 PM
Reported By Joseph Pleasant, Reporter - bio | email
Reported By Stephanie Langston, Reporter - bio | email
GREENBRIER, Tenn. -
Some students at Greenbrier Elementary and Greenbrier Middle School are arriving at least an hour late to because the bus is not coming on time in the morning.
Wednesday News 2 waited with students at their bus stop. The bus that was supposed to arrive at 6:45 a.m. did not arrive to pick up the students until 8:25 a.m.
"It must be very difficult for parents who have a job they need to get to," Charlotte Munsy said.
Munsy has two sons who ride the school bus every day. The delay has been an on-going issue.
"Last week, the older boy had a test to take early in the morning and he was very concerned he was going to miss it and would have to make it up because he would get there too late," she said.
Parents were notified by an automated call Tuesday evening the bus would be delayed for a third time this week.
On Wednesday evening students who ride the bus were sent home with a note that said parents should expect at least a one hour delay for school bus pick up for the rest of the week.
News 2 went to the Robertson County Schools to get answers about what is causing the school bus delays.
Robertson County School's spokesman Jim Bellis said the school system is dealing with a school bus driver shortage that is causing at least two routes a day to be driven by the same driver.
That means the driver picks up and drops off kids on their regular route and then runs a second route.
Bellis said the school system is down by two bus drivers to run the school buses period and a total of seven bus drivers to be fully staffed. That would include having two bus drivers to fill in for other drivers who may be out.
On Tuesday, Bellis said the district was down four bus drivers due to illness.
Robertson Country Transportation Supervisor Jerry Partlow also admitted to News 2 there is a problem.
"I'd say it's been an issue the last couple of months," he said. "I think virtually every school district in the country faces the same issue, a shortage of drivers."
Partlow said he is tirelessly working to resolve the problem.
"I have three in training right now," he said. "We have another one to be tested next week, so that will give us another spare driver, which will help a whole lot."
Bus driver shortages are not unique to Robertson County.
Williamson County the school district needs 11 full time bus drivers and 12 special education bus drivers.
The transportation department is having some drivers drive two routes in the morning and afternoon to avoid delays, according to district spokeswoman Carol Birdsong.
Metro-Nashville schools is also looking to hire bus drivers. The district currently has 20 openings for general education buses, 30 openings for substitute drivers of general education buses and 20 drivers for exceptional education buses.
MNPS spokesman Joe Bass said those numbers are "not outside the norm" for the past few years.