No end in sight to school bus driver shortage in Northeast Ohio

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 8:18 PM EST
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WOOSTER, Ohio (WOIO) - Wooster City Schools was forced to delay several of its bus routes Monday due to an ongoing problem affecting nearly every school district in Northeast Ohio: lack of labor.

“We have a few routes that we don’t have permanent employees for,” said Gabe Tudor, the superintendent for the Wooster City School District.

Tudor told 19 News that the bus driver shortage has plagued the district since the beginning of the school year.

“We’re definitely hoping this doesn’t continue,” he said.

It’s a problem that’s forced the district to not only make changes to bus routes, but also make changes to some of its sporting events.

“We have had to move back a lot of the start times, because if we do that our regular drivers can get done with their normal route and then drive the field trip,” Tudor said.

It’s an issue that sadly doesn’t seem to have any end in sight, for not only Wooster City Schools but for many districts across Ohio.

Back in September, Governor DeWine told 19 News he was talking with the Ohio National Guard, trying to come up with a plan to possibly have its members hop behind the wheel in an attempt to help deal with the bus driver shortage. It’s a move that other states across the nation have made.

While the driver shortage has been a consistent problem for many districts, including Wooster City Schools, some districts have lucked out.

Bay Village City Schools had to cancel a bus route on Monday, but the district told 19 News it wasn’t due to an ongoing shortage of bus drivers.

In a statement to 19 News, Char Shryock the district’s interim superintendent said:

“The number of drivers out today exceeded the number of subs we have available, so for the first time this school year, we had to cancel one bus route. We anticipate this to be a one-day problem, with our subs returning tomorrow. And as of Monday, November 22, we will again be fully staffed with a new driver starting.”

It may be just a temporary hindrance, but it’s one that caused headaches for quite a few families on Monday.

“My daughter called me and said: ‘Mom, you got to pick up Brianna after school,’” said Deborah Hein, whose granddaughter is a student at Normandy Elementary.

Hein told 19 News her family got a text message while waiting at the bus stop Monday morning alerting them that the bus wouldn’t be running that day.

“It’s a big inconvenience,” she said.

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