FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Allen County school districts are pushing to fill their need for substitute bus drivers.
East Allen County Schools Director of Transportation David Meyers said this problem is bigger than Allen County – It’s nationwide. EACS overcame an overwhelming driver shortage at the end of 2016. It got so bad, Meyers had to step in at times to substitute.
“We’ll have something pop up and somebody got sick at the last minute and as a service to our kids rather than us having to leave them at the school or put more kids on the bus and make them uncomfortable in their seating, it’s easier for me to go out,” he said.
For now, if they keep hiring two new drivers a month, they’ll stay afloat. Meyers said they can’t get complacent, or they’ll fall back in the same boat.
Fort Wayne Community Schools is short 25 bus drivers, 14 of those being substitute ones.
“It’s a job that isn’t necessarily easy,” explained Krista Stockman, a district spokesperson. “It’s a job where you’re usually working a split shift. We do have very high standards as far as who can be a driver. You [also] need to like kids. It can be noisy on a bus and you need to know how to handle that.”
FWCS’ current strategy is non-stop recruiting through social media and asking all district staff to bring in anyone who may be interested in driving.
At EACS, they’ve placed a bus at their district headquarters, right along the street with a large “bus drivers wanted” sign on the side of it.