KCS Bus Driver Shortage Information
- Briana Warner
*KCS Bus Driver Shortage Information*
Kanawha County Schools is aware of the bus challenges that parents and students are facing, specifically in the Capital High School and Herbert Hoover High School feeder areas. The transportation department is working every day to directly address these concerns, concerns from other parts of the district and our shortage of bus drivers.
The district as a whole is short approximately 30 full-time bus drivers. We would like to have up to 50 for substitute runs. Specifically, out of the Elkview bus garage, we’re operating with a 35% shortage. And, when a current driver is sick or is absent for any reason, we do not have anyone to cover those runs.
What we’re doing right now
Any multi-class employee that is approved and trained is driving a bus. That includes supervisors, trainers, technicians, mechanics and other employees.
What we’re doing moving forward
KCS has 35 people in a training class beginning Monday, September 10. It takes 6-10 weeks to complete the class. We will also be adding on qualified drivers in the next couple of weeks.
We are currently enrolled in the ESC (Educational Services Co-op) to improve our pool of trainers and allow for the county to be reimbursed for the training. We are working to create and install full-time trainers to help secure additional drivers for the county. We are also contracting with
a person to come into the Transportation Department to help with scheduling and communications for incoming applicants who want it become bus drivers.
The State Requires specific bus driver training before they will issue a certification card to drive a bus. No one can drive the bus without the certification card. This year the State Department offered the opportunity for employees to go through the training in July. KCS requested additional trainers as we positioned ourselves to handle the ongoing shortage. The State Department granted us a total of ten field trainers—much more than any other county due to our ongoing need. The additional trainers, the ESC and the full-time position for trainers will help us address the issue of driver shortages much quicker and much more efficiently.
This is not just a Kanawha County Schools problem, but rather a nationwide problem. You can find examples across the country here: http://www.schoolbusfleet.com/tag/60017/driver-shortage. Kanawha County Schools will continue to address the issues and improve as much as possible each day. Thank you for bearing with our current bus drivers who are going above and beyond at this time.