FCPS considers hiring transportation company to address bus driver shortage

Right now, the district is operating on a rotating schedule. Parents are asked to check weekly to make sure their child’s bus route is running.
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 11:41 AM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Fayette County Public Schools is working to find a new solution to its bus driver shortage.

Right now, the district is operating on a rotating schedule. Parents are asked to check weekly to make sure their child’s bus route is running. The schedule is only in place until winter break.

Now, the school board is trying to find another solution until it hires more drivers and they’re looking to hire outside help.

Under a proposal, the district would contract with the National Association of Pupil Transportation Collaborative to take students to and from school.

FCPS officials discussed the proposal during Monday night’s board meeting. The $440,000 contract would allow the outside group to drive as many as 10 vans. District spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall says the group has been successful in covering routes for other school districts across the country.

FCPS has dealt with a bus driver shortage problem for the past few years. This year alone, canceled routes have caused nearly 1,200 students to miss a half-day or more of school.

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Superintendent Demetrius Liggins says the district has implemented several recruitment strategies, including higher salaries for bus drivers and attendance incentive pay. However, he said help is still needed.

At Monday night’s meeting, the district’s chief operating officer, Myron Thompson, told board members the bus driver proposal could provide much-needed help.

“This is something that expands our toolbox and would give us some flexibility with transporting students so it’s about efficiency and just trying to look at things differently as we navigate this pandemic,” Thompson said.

Thompson told board members the new proposal would not be an attempt to privatize the district’s school bus system, nor would it affect current bus drivers. If the proposal passes, it could go into effect as soon as January.

The school board will vote on whether to partner with the National Association of Pupil transportation Collaborative on December 13.

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