WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Williamson County has one of the most sought after school districts in the state, but there are safety concerns for some of those children.
A number of parents have expressed concerns about overcrowded buses as the district makes a plea for more bus drivers.
“One parent sent me Photos where students are actually sitting on the floor in the aisle way of the bus,” County Commissioner Keith Hudson told News 2.
He says it raises serious safety concerns for the children.
“The parents seem to think there’s an overcrowding issue and we are trying to put all the kids on the bus to make one route,” Hudson explained.
He points to bus driver shortages as one of the issues. The shortages are an issue that News 2 has been reporting on for years and one that the school board has tried to address by raising wages, offering incentives, and health benefits.
A spokesperson for the Williamson County School District says they are continually looking for drivers. She says they have a total of 243 drivers with 238 routes and ideally, would like an additional 15 drivers to cover routes when drivers call out.
She says if they don’t have enough drivers to cover routes on a given day, they double or combine some routes.
Debbie Crabtree has several grandchildren in the school system.
“If the children can’t have a seat I think it’s an issue, it’s unsafe,” said Crabtree.
As a realtor, she knows first hand about the rapid growth in the county which requires more resources; like buses and bus drivers.
“The overcrowding is an issue because the buses can only hold so many students and you don’t want to create an unsafe environment for our children traveling to school,” Hudson explained.
He says that growth is one of the reasons for the shortages.
“As we continue to grow If we don’t do something about it it’s going to continue being an issue.”
The Williamson County Board of Commissioners approved the spending of $2.03 million for the purchase of 21 buses for the school district, in a meeting Monday night. The district says six of those buses will accommodate growth in the school system.
“They have all of the resources to take care of the matter promptly and I have all confidence that the matter will be resolved,” said Hudson.
The district pays $10 an hour for training and starts drivers at $18.49, with no experience. They also pay full benefits for part-time work.
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