IRSD hires drivers extra help to address school driver shortage
Enough school buses, but not enough drivers is an issue that both Delaware bus companies and local schools are dealing with.
"We've been having this issue a couple of years now, and this year we were really impacted. We had a contractor turn in four bus routes because he couldn't solidify the drivers for that route," says Mark Steele, the Superintendent for the Indian River School District.
Indian River like many other Delaware districts rely on bus contractors to meet their transportation needs, but over the years a shortage in drivers has them scrambling for solutions.
"We've been trying to recruit bus drivers for the contractors for some time, years actually. Gone so far as doing radio ads, all types of ads, and trying to get people to go through the process, and it's just a hard thing to get people to do. It doesn't work well with people who have full time positions so you're looking for a small group of individuals who can come and ride,"says Steele.
This issue leaving the Indian River School District with no choice but to take the wheel.
"We purchased 3 buses this year to help us with the routes," says Steele.
The district has hired employees that will work as bus drivers as well as inside the district, in and effort to offer full time positions and hopefully keep a consistent number of drivers around.
"People that could be for example part time custodian and part time bus driver so we would have our own drivers built in," says Steele.
The superintendent says he is not looking to compete against contractors, but rather offer a short term solution so students can get to school.
"I would like to say that 3 years from now we are out of the bus business, I'd be a very happy superintendent to say that," says Steele.