PCSD declares ‘State of Emergency’ on Bus Driver Shortage!

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Nearly every school board meeting, Perry County School District Superintendent Andy Comstock mentions something about school buses and the district’s needs for drivers.
The district is now in dire straits when it comes to that issue.
Perry County School District declared a “State of Emergency” Friday, in a release Friday, Sept. 16.
District administrators have joined board members and bus drivers in a series of meetings to examine every aspect of this crisis, and are working to develop a comprehensive plan to create fewer but more efficient bus routes for the number of drivers we currently have available.
“It is no secret that the district has struggled with a critical shortage of bus drivers, which is affecting schools nationwide,” Deputy Superintendent Fara Jones said. “We have had to ask our students to make numerous sacrifices recently, including canceling morning and afternoon bus routes, having students wait for 30-45 minutes after school before boarding a bus for the ride home, arriving to school late so bus drivers can run multiple morning routes, and often not having buses available to transport our students to athletic events and other extracurricular activities.”
The Board of Education discussed the matter at its latest meeting as well on Sept. 14 and noted that other staff and coaches are needed to fill voids.
“This is a nationwide issue,” Board president Nancy Voelker said. “People think about buses and drivers getting children to and from school, but our academics are also having trouble getting kids to events. There have been coaches that have wanted to step up and help out as well. It is going to take all of us to solve this problem.”
The goals for any upcoming meetings are simple, Jones noted.
· To provide our student riders with safe transportation to and from school and to all extracurricular activities

· Ensure that bus stops are safe places for students
· Keep ride time as low as possible for students
· Reduce the number of students who have morning and afternoon bus delays
· Recognize the great responsibility that our bus drivers play in the education of our students
· Ensure that all support services (cafeteria, supervision, etc.) are in place to make the new plan sustainable
· Conduct a coordinated recruitment campaign to hire new bus drivers
· Provide regular communication to our families throughout this process
Jones is asking for patience as the district sorts through the problems at hand.
“Our team will meet again to begin building new bus routes to better serve your family,” Jones said “I am asking for your support and patience as we tackle this daunting task. I haven’t been in Perryville long, but I have already seen that few things are impossible when this community unites behind a common goal. And what better goal to share than improving daily life for our children?”

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