LEE COUNTY, Fla. — At least 20 bus drivers in one South Florida school district have quit since school started less than a week ago.
The Lee County School District was able to quickly fill some of the positions but are still in need of 100 drivers which is causing delays for students, or in some cases, absences, WPTV reported.
“Being short drivers is really nothing new, unfortunately,” Roger Lloyd, director of transportation for the school district, told the News-Press. “We’ve never been down like this, and that’s why we’re doing the best we can to recruit.”
The district is covering applicants’ upfront costs, waiving certain education requirements and offering referral bonuses. However, they are still facing challenges.
“Some of the factors for our bus drivers, for them personally were concerned about students not wearing masks. There’s a lot of stress on them, picking up extra routes and filling in extra time to make sure that we are picking up everybody,” Robert Spicker, a spokesperson for the school district, told WPTV. “And unfortunately, they often take the brunt of a parent’s frustration when the doors open and that just drives them away.”
The lack of drivers for routes is causing delays. Parents are concerned about their children making it to school and coming home.
“I understand that they are understaffed. However, somebody needs to contact the parents if they’re not going to pick up the students and figure out something different,” Jennifer Sopka, whose daughter is in eighth grade, told WPTV.
School district officials said that, as long as students are on the bus, they will make it home, although it might be later than expected. Parents can also use an app to track their child’s bus.
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