LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — It's not so much of a new issue, but the school bus driver shortage is still an issue.
It is one we saw the impacts of on Wednesday night. Fayette County Public Schools sent out an e-mail announcing it would be canceling four bus routes for Thursday morning. FCPS Chief Operating Officer Myron Thompson says it's important for families to have a plan in place in case a route is canceled.
"With the shortage that we have, it's always a possibility," Thompson said. "I'd just say to the families that each winter, we go through an exercise where there could be inclement weather."
When asked if other routes would be canceled, Thompson says it can certainly happen. Right now, he says they have about 230 drivers and about 190 monitors. Thompson says that's not quite enough. In fact, he says they're about 25 drivers short. To add to the shortage that was an issue before the pandemic, COVID-19 doesn't make it easier.
"Even if we were at full staffing levels, you never know how this virus is going to respond," Thompson said. "So that could impact us operationally."
So what is the solution?
"Ultimately it gets fixed over time, it's going to take us time to do the things that we need to do in terms of recruitment," he added.
This isn't just an issue in Fayette County. The director for transportation in the Jessamine County school system says they also have a shortage of drivers. Again -- it's not something new.
"Right now, we are seven routes down," said Matthew Simpson. "I could hire seven employees tomorrow and we'd be full."
So why is there so much turnover?
"As quick as we hire them, we have folks that are ready to retire."