Illness, bus driver shortage impacts Wilson County school bus routes


WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Melanie Griffis has gotten the same robocall three times this school year.

“We usually get a phone call from Wilson County Schools, just letting us know that the route is not going to run,” Griffis said.

Her two sons go to school in Wilson County and ride the school bus.

Each time a bus route isn’t running, she has to leave work to pick them up.

“It’s not easy,” she said. “It’s frustrating, but it’s my kids.”

It’s a frustration that caused parents like Jennifer Ruppert to stop using the bus and drive her kids herself.

“There was bus shortages and drivers and late pickups, late drop-offs,” Ruppert said.

Wilson County Schools’ Transportation Director Jerry Partlow says the school district is running low on drivers.

“We just need drivers,” Partlow said. “That would solve so many problems it’s unbelievable.”

Partlow says there are 147 drivers to cover the district’s 150 bus routes.

Four drivers recently resigned. He says in the past two days several drivers called in sick, leaving no one to cover a total of 13 bus routes.

The school district put up ads on social media to help fill in the gap.

“We’re trying to get people hired,” Partlow said.

In the meantime, Partlow says it’s all hands on deck.

“I have all my office staff driving,” he said.

“It’s a big deal,” Griffis said. “We need drivers.”

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