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School districts battle with bus driver shortage: Looking at options to increase numbers before fall

A small school district in Wayne County is facing a now-common challenge: Not enough people to drive buses.

The Gananda Central School District has a fleet of buses that’s ready to go for the fall. However, some of those buses may not be used- as the district searches for qualified drivers.

“There has been a general shortage of bus drivers for at least two to three years now,” Superintendent Shawn Van Scoy told 13WHAM. “We had a shortage prior to the pandemic.”

“We’ve had some resignations, some retirements, and there is no one to fill those positions,” he added. “I think that’s the biggest concern. In the past you had turnover and people leave but there has always been a population of people looking to take those new positions and there is no one waiting in the wings to take those positions.”

Right now the district is four short. They need 32 bus drivers to be fully-staffed- and have 28 now.

“We’re looking at our staff. Cleaners, aides, staff we can pull from one position and train them to do this work,” Van Scoy added. The district is also looking at other options- as far as updating hourly rates for workers.

This also plays into the uncertainty over state regulations regarding buses- and COVID-19 come fall. Will districts need to space students out? That’s one question, which could make the bus driver shortage even worse.