Bus Driver Shortage Impacts Students, Athletes and Staff


Buses at Pine Creek High School lined up waiting to pick up students.

Across the state, there has been a significant bus driver shortage. According to Academy District 20 transportation personnel, the number of bus drivers and para-professionals is down 15%. This shortage affects students, sports teams, and field trips, and also causes social distress to the students as they get emotionally attached to the drivers / para-professionals, who transport them. 


Students, teachers, and coaches are being affected by the bus driver shortage. Many sports teams have not had access to transportation at all this year. “It’s challenging for the parents since they have to organize rides for the kids,” Says Cross Country Coach Amy Wasson. “The bus driver shortage has really made it difficult on families.” With not all parents being available to drive due to work, some students are not able to go to the events or are needing to carpool with other athletes. 


Teachers are also being affected in ways such as not being able to do field trips for their students. “I did check with transportation, and transportation could not meet my needs to go on the field trip due to bus routes,” said Street Law Teacher Angie Chatman, who tries to annually take her students to the courthouse or a jail. In order to make up for the lack of field trips, many teachers are finding alternative ways to give their students engaging and informative lessons such as having guest speakers. 


The school district is taking steps to alleviate the situation. “We are hosting job fairs. The district raised starting salary for bus drivers by 70 cents an hour and raised starting pay for paraprofessionals by 40 cents an hour. We provide CDL training here for free. And we pay you while we train you,” Director of District 20 Transportation Joey Eisenhut said.


With the concerns of the lack of bus drivers, there could be an ongoing issue, yet many are hoping for a quick resolution to this problem. Being a statewide issue, the bus driver shortage is causing issues for many students, athletes and teachers alike.