USD 457 facing bus driver shortage

GARDEN CITY, Kansas– Garden City Public schools are facing a bus driver shortage they can’t ignore.

“We do have 2,500 plus kids that we’re attempting to transport with only 29 drivers, and we know that’s not ideal,” said Director of Transportation Bill Wilson.

USD 457 bus drivers make several routes a day to make up for the shortage, but some kids end up on the bus much longer than the transportation department would like.

“It’s leaving students on the bus too long, they have to get on too early,” Wilson said.

Because of stricter license requirements for bus drivers, the district is struggling to find qualified drivers in a short amount of time. So, they’re bringing in certified drivers to help.

“We’re hiring five bus drivers out of Wichita with the first student bussing service to fill those positions,” said Roy Cessna, Public Information Coordinator for USD 457.

The contracted drivers will start in September.  The school district says they’re only a temporary fix, and they hope to be hiring full time drivers within the next couple of months.

There has been some frustration from parents about the shortage, but Wilson said the department is doing everything possible to fix the problem.  They’ve already hired two new drivers, but proper training can take as long as three to four weeks.

“We’re hauling a precious commodity in our youth and we want those drivers to be as well trained as possible,” he said, saying they won’t cut corners when it comes to safety.

Interested applicants can call 620-805-7020 or visit Garden City Schools’ website.

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