Poplar Bluff school dist. experiencing bus driver shortage

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 5:57 AM CDT
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POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (KFVS) - Heartland schools are struggling with another impact form the pandemic, a shortage of school bus drivers.

Poplar Bluff R-1 students return to school in less than a week and the district is still 10 drivers short.

“We will do whatever it takes to solve this problem for our kids and our community,” said Superintendent Scott Dill.

He said his school district is still in need of bus drivers.

“The problem is an ongoing one, it’s been magnified right now. It’s a shortage of drivers. And it’s not just here in Poplar Bluff, it’s around the region, around the state and around the nation,” he continued.

He said the shortage is not specific to bus drivers.

“We’re having trouble filling positions throughout the school district,” he said. “There appears to be a labor shortage. I think a lot of people are having trouble filling positions right now.”

But a shortage of bus drivers doesn’t just affect employment numbers, eighth grade student Nichole Clark said it also affects the students.

“It can affect how we get to school on time,” Clark said.

She explained why it’s important to fill the open positions.

“I would like to see more bus drivers apply because then we can get to school on time, and we can get our breakfast and not have to rush to class. And we can get home on time and be at the table with our families and be eating dinner,” she said.

Dill said he is offering incentives to make bus driving more attractive to anyone who wants to drive.

“We offer signing bonuses, we do licensure. We also do weekly attendance incentives that allow our drivers to be paid during the summer months when they are not working,” he said.

In order to fix the shortage problem, he said his district will continue to recruit eligible applicants.

“Every position in the school district is filled with importance and value. And they all contribute, making our school the positive learning environment that it is. And they pay a valuable part in that. And it’s just a matter of finding the right people to fill those spots,” he said.

Dill said you can apply for a bus driving position online, directly through your local transportation department.

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