LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) — High gas prices are hurting some Middle Tennessee school districts, and that is not the only issue at play.
One district told News 2 they are also in critical need of people to drive the buses.
A shortage of school bus drivers has been a topic of concern for many school districts across Middle Tennessee for years.
Now, Wilson County Schools hopes it can fill that void during these summer months.
Bart Barker with Wilson County Schools explained there’s no control over fuel costs, it is what it is. Although, the need for drivers is crucial and essential.
“Just getting those added drivers in here would mean more to us than you could possibly imagine and hopefully we will get there in the summer months,” Barker said.
With an uptick of more bus riders comes the need for more bus drivers.
Barker said they have seen an increase in new teen drivers catching a bus ride to and from school.
“Our licensed drivers within our high schools would start taking the bus route,” Barker said.
With the COVID-19 pandemic and now the record-high gas prices, Barker said they take it one school year at a time, but he believes the Wilson County School District is in good shape for now.
However, the Dickson County School District told News 2 they might have to rethink bus routes for the upcoming school year.
The district released a statement saying, in part:
“As we begin our summer programming this week, we are monitoring fuel and bus routing carefully. Budgeting for fuel for the upcoming year is becoming more challenging due to the increases we are facing. If fuel prices remain high as we enter the fall. We will be required to deeply examine our transportation practices, especially for extracurricular activities.”
News 2 also reached out to Maury County and Metro school districts. Both say the higher gas prices are a challenge.
Metro schools told News 2:
“It is difficult to forecast long-term fuel prices but the school system says it will reallocate resources as needed to continue to provide transportation to students.”
The school system also said it will make routes as fuel-efficient as possible.