USD 383 desperately in need of bus drivers, other positions amid major staffing shortages

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A USD 383 Transportation Department employee hoses down a school bus in this August file photo, just weeks before the new school year. (KMAN file photo – Brandon Peoples)

Demand for bus drivers remains high for the USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden Transportation Department.

Close to a dozen maintenance employees and district mechanics are filling in on those routes in the interim. Assistant Superintendent Eric Reid says with activities well underway, it’s putting a strain on an already thin pool of available drivers.

      0916-Reid buses

Reid says the district already double routes secondary schools but says they may have to go to a double route and then add a third route for elementary students if the shortage persists.

      0916-Reid past plan A

Reid says having maintenance staff covering bus routes is fine in the interim, but not sustainable long-term.

      0916-Reid pressure

The bus driver shortage is not unique to Manhattan. In Massachusetts, some 250 National Guard members have been called in to address staffing in some districts. Reid told school board members Wednesday that USD 383 is not far off from having to take a similar approach to keep bus routes open.

      0916-Reid getting close

The shortages extend beyond the bus barn to schools across the district. Reid says even though their data dashboard suggests attendance of staff is hovering around 95 percent, it doesn’t account for the fact that many positions in the district remain unfilled.

      0916-Reid 80 to 90 short

The district is legally obligated to provide transportation, special education, as well as the federal lunch and breakfast programs.

      0916-Reid trying really hard

The district has multiple openings for not only bus drivers but also several paraprofessional, custodial and other classified staff. To apply visit usd383.org/employment.

 

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KMAN News Director and host of In Focus. Contact Brandon at Brandon@1350KMAN.com

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