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Central Kentucky school districts deal with bus driver shortage

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 11:30 AM EDT
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VERSAILLES, Ky. (WKYT) - Multiple school districts in Central Kentucky reported bus driver shortages ahead of the new school year.

“It does have an impact on our school district, it has an impact on our schools, it has an impact on our kids, so we want to get as many drivers as we can to meet the number that we need,” said Garet Wells, Director of Staff and Student Services at Woodford County Schools.

Wells said the district has had to combine routes. Some schools have even had to adjust their starting or ending times.

He said the problem isn’t just in Woodford County. And it’s not getting any easier on anyone.

“Public schools, private sector employers, I mean we are all facing some of the same challenges with our labor force, so trying to recruit and retain is a challenge in general, not just for schools but for other employers as well,” Wells said.

Jessamine County reports the same shortage. Their Interim Director of Transportation, Matthew Simpson, said people in different positions have to step in to fill the empty roles.

Simpson says it’s a position that can make a difference.

Often, when we think of people who make big impacts on our students, we think of teachers and principals and, of course, many of them do. But, people working in school districts throughout the Commonwealth say bus drivers are the first people to see students in the mornings and the last to see them in the afternoons.”

“Clearly a way that folks can impact our community, they can invest in the next generation,” Simpson said.

In Woodford County, Wells said, on the positive side, the shortage is actually better than it was last year when the pandemic was in full swing.

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